Ron English has long been a favorite of ours, being one of the best street-artists-cum-visual-genius of his generation. On Saturday, October 26, he opened a new solo show of his comically tragic photorealistic paintings to an exhibition called “POPGANDASTAN.” Taking his twisting of pop-culture icons to a new level, the works he’s shared with us appear to be the perverse nightmares of a circus clown, showing something of the unconscious that is critical and terrifying, while still able to engage the viewer.
“POPGANDASTAN” is a thematically complex show, utilizing landscapes and creatures and characters all fresh to a conceptual universe of English’s design. This is how the gallery describes the affair:
Like an Acid-Pop Aesop’s Fable, these paintings serve as a conceptual battleground for a multitude of viewpoints in harmonic opposition, creating the ultimate Pop Utopia. English has populated his visionary village with his original characters, each the embodiment of a distinct aspect of the human condition. The central character is Ronnnie Rabbbit, a three-eyed neurotic rabbit whose two brains argue each side to every argument. The Combrats are a feral group of doe eyed, runaway, militaristic, dinosaur riding clowns who enforce community law. The Snappers are slow moving antagonists of a destructive, hyperactive culture of planned obsolescence.
The Wolves are resentful, self aggrandizing dethroned inhabitants of a world they once ruled. The sheep are a cult like tribe that clings to its self-styled spiritual creationism. The Quacks are ambitious, lovable charlatans and creators of quack, the drug that makes you believe anything you think. The Buddha Burgers are a family of supersized proponents of fast food and unbridled consumerism. The Cowgirls are Mother Nature personified, embodying an oddly exhilarating combination of fertility, food and sexual desire. The story of Popagandastan is told through a dizzying kaleidoscope of surrealist imagery composed of the aspirational iconography and detritus of the TV generation.
The Corey Helford Gallery is located at 8522 Washington Boulevard, Culver City, Calif. The show will be on display through November 16.
[via Corey Helford Gallery]