While trampsing around the suburbs and backwaters of Texas, I happened to find the majestic Webb Gallery in Waxahachie for there lay a treasure trove of Esther Pearl Watson paintings. With fading painted trim in still vibrant oranges and teals matched with iron statues and odd toys from people long since dead, it reminds you of an open range and that mix of culture which is a side-step from Southwestern.
Watson's paintings, unlike her Unlovable comics Fantagraphis printed, are deeply personal and autographical. As the daughter of the local color, Watson watched her father build several large-scale UFOs. Out on the lawn.
Bitter-sweet nostaglic scenes in dirty brown skies and abandoned women's clinics, Watson paints a darker time in her childhood. But that ever-hovering presence, the idea of 'what-if', the UFO. (They Might Be Giants might have called it her 'hovering sombrero')
Compared to Watson's Unloveable, which also runs in Bust Magazine, the unapolagetic Tammy Pierce is nearly the opposite of these quiet moments with tension bubbling under the surface. Each canvas, most of them wooden, are akin to a diary page created in paint, dirt and the occasional glitter patch instead of words. Notes are scribbled in the corners of most of the paintings to enhance or detail the scene. Often a new town, a new landscape to explore.
Details of the paintings. They practically vibrate.
So all these gorgeous paintings hang on the high-ceilinged walls of the Webb Gallery amongst their antique carnival posters, including Coney Island originals. The perfect place for the painted recollections of hazy memories. Something almost most too incredible to believe.
The Webb Gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 or by appointment, (972) 938-8085. A quick 30 minute drive from downtown Dallas or 2 hours up from Austin, be sure to see it! 209 West Franklin Street Waxahachie, TX 75165. The current exhibition by Esther Pearl Watson will be up through January 20th, 2013.
The comics world lost a great cartoonist this month as Spain Rodriguez drove his wild hog one last time. As an influential members of underground comics, his reach was large. The New York Times wrote an excellent obituary on Spain and Bruce Weber profiled him as "part of a wave of artists — including R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson and Bill Griffith, who created the character Zippy the Pinhead — who established the irreverent, profane, highly sexed, antiwar, anti-capitalist spirit of underground comics (often, in this context, spelled comix)." Below is a sketch Spain made for Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds.
From the Latino Comics Expo, Ricardo Padilla remembers some of his favorite moments. "We were touched by his generous spirit, his kindness, and his willingness to support and encourage artists and their dreams. He even agreed to be part of our Art Show, LA RAZA COMICA, which premiered at the Cartoon Art Museum after our Expo. . . I will always treasure these memories of Spain Rodriguez and will never forget the encouragement and support he lent to the Latino Comics Expo. He was a True Revolutionary and and an honorable man. My fondest memory is of him in the Museum's 'green room' after his panel discussion, smiling with his wife and daughter. . . savoring one of my mom's 'chile verde' burritos. . ."
Stephen R. Bissette and Skip Williamson taught me everything I needed to know about the history of underground comics including Zap comics and Spain Rodriguez, from there I went on to read his collected comics, thanks to Last Gasp and Fantagraphics. While not everyone was able to meet this amazing creator, we can remember him through friends' stories of Spain and the stories he created. Tom Spurgeon of the Comics Reporter made a thorough list of all the links, stories and pictures of Spain in his collective memory.
For the curious, a retrospective of Spain's career has been hanging at the Burchfield Penney Center in Buffalo, NY since September and will be up through January 20th. Jack Foran of ArtVoice recently visited the exhibit and had this to say, "Rodriguez was a kind of incorrigible rebellious type. . . when abstract expressionism with its two-dimensionality principle was dogma—he was into three-dimensionality, in spades—and his blue-collar employment in Buffalo area manufactories, where the curriculum was the much more interesting subject to him of simmering socioeconomic class warfare." His art will live on.
(The first photo is a panel from Cruisin' with the Hound by Spain released earlier this year while the last on is page six from Hard-Ass Friday Nite).
We're reminding you to check out The Art Institute of Chicago's exhibition entitled Rarely Seen: Contemporary Works on Paper, that is up from now until January 13, 2012. Organized by the Prints and Drawings Department of the museum, the show also includes comics from the Ryerson Library collection including Blexbolex, Mat Brinkman, Charles Burns, R. Crumb (Zap and Weirdo), Hairy Who, Humbug magazine, Al Jaffee, Rory Hayes, Jay Lynch, David Sandlin, Art Spiegelman, S Clay Wilson (Zap), and issues from Raw magazine.
The non-comics but still amazing part of the show includes artists such as Ed Ruscha, Martin Kippenberger, Carrol Dunham, Jim Nutt, and Romare Bearden and the whole show is located in Galleries 124–127.
"Whether centuries old or the latest contemporary creations, works on paper are extremely light sensitive and can only be displayed in the galleries for short and infrequent periods of time before they must be returned to the safety of the dark, climate-controlled vault."
So jump on the chance, Chicago, to see some brilliant works on paper in THIS lifetime. The museum is open daily from 10:30am-5pm, open late until 8 on Wednesdays. Admission to the Art Institute of Chicago is free to Illinois residents the first and second Wednesdays of every month.
Visitors to "The Horror: Selections from the EC Comics Library" on Saturday, October 13 at Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery will have the added pleasure of viewing "Apopalyptic America," an exhibition of new works by Jem Eaton. His postmodern paintings combine pop culture motifs with fine art techniques to create colorful comments on classic cartoon characters. The show is at the One Night Stand Gallery space directly above the bookstore and Georgetown Records, the site of a free concert that evening by Berlin-based recording artist Molly Nilsson. These events coincide with the lively Georgetown Art Attack featuring visual and performing arts presentations throughout the historic arts community. See you all then.
Happiness is an art exhibit honoring the work of Charles M. Schulz, and the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR has just that!
Exhibition curator Ben Saunders has chosen 25 originals spanning all five decades of PEANUTS that he hopes will allow the viewer to take in the origins, maturation, and final years of this great American masterwork.
Our own Gary Groth will make a visit on Thursday, November 8th to discuss the importance of Charles Schulz's work within the larger tradition of newspaper strip comics. This event begins at 5:30 PM, and is co-sponsored by the UO School of Journalism.
And on Tuesday, October 23rd at 5:30 PM, Saunders interviews Jan Eliot about her experiences with Charles Schulz and her own career as the artist of the nationally successful newspaper strip "Stone Soup."
Don't be a blockhead and miss this exhibit! GOOD GRIEF! Original Art from 50 Years of Charles M. Schulz's PEANUTS runs through December 1, 2012. The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is located in Eugene, Oregon on the western side of the University of Oregon campus next to the Knight Library.
Get haunted with the latest exhibit at Giant Robot's GR2 Gallery in Los Angeles, featuring our own John Pham alongside Rob Sato. Here's a sneak peek at one of John's paintings that I swiped from his Facebook page (sorry, John):
Haunts runs from September 8th through 26th at GR2 [ 2062 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, CA ] with an opening reception event on Saturday, September 8th from 6:30 - 10:00 PM. Tell him we say hi!
Inspired by video game journalist Bob Mackey's piece for 1Up.com, our very own Jen Vaughn conceptualized the “box art” of some of our most famous graphic novels reimagined as failed videogame adaptations. For example...
How about Prison Pit for the Xbox 360? As Jen puts it, "even gorier than Mortal Kombat!" The box detail that cracked me up? "No quests here." Ain't that the truth!
If you live outside of Seattle and can't make it to the show, you can check out more of Jen's hilarious and awesome adapations over on the Fantagraphics Flickr.
But if you do live around Seattle, don't let it be game over for you! You have until Wednesday, September 5th to check out the show. The Fantagraphics Bookstore & Gallery is located at 1201 S. Vale Street at Airport Way S. Open daily 11:30 to 8:00 PM, Sundays until 5:00 PM. Phone 206.658.0110.
Titled Drawing Fire: Bill Mauldin and the WWII GI, this exhibit tells the GI story using Mauldin’s cartoons and the some of the museum’s extensive but rarely seen World War II collection.
Visitors will see more than forty of Mauldin’s cartoons and a variety of artifacts including personal objects carried by soldiers, equipment, decorations, and letters written home during the war. In addition, an interactive allows visitors to hear German weapons and artillery that GIs would have faced.
Join Jacques at The Horse Hospital in London for the official book release party on Friday, August 24th at 7:30 PM. Be one of the first to get your hands on this anthology of over a hundred of the most outrageously over-the-top porn movie posters of the era!
It's also the kick-off for an exhibit of pristinely re-mastered movie posters from the golden age of American porn, a collection of taboo-busting 1970s “porno chic” erotomania.
The exhibition runs through September 1st, and there will be daily matinee screenings of Jacques Boyreau's Candy Von Dewd & the Girls from Latexploitia... I bet that's exactly what it sounds like.
The Horse Hospital is located at Colonnade, Bloomsbury in London. Someone go check in on those horses for me.