JoAnne Artman Gallery, Presents in the Main Gallery: “Life Candy” A Group Exhibition. Featuring Marjorie Strider, Pedro Bonnin, Anthony Hunter, America Martin, Shinji Murakami and James Verbicky. December 1st, 2014 – January 31st, 2015
From pop art to abstraction to stunning hyperrealism, “Life Candy” features artists who delight the senses with their playful themes, glossy finishes, and bold hues. Artists Marjorie Strider, Pedro Bonnin, Anthony Hunter, America Martin, Shinji Murakami, and James Verbicky tantalize viewers into sumptuous escapism. While these artists work in a variety of media and subject matter, all share a contagiously energetic embrace of life.
Marjorie Strider (1931-2014) is recognized as one of the pioneering female figures in the Pop Art movement. Rising from a blue-collar upbringing in Oklahoma, Strider honed her talents at the Kansas City Art Institute. In the early 1960s she moved to New York City, where she quickly gained prominence for her influential and enduring contributions to Pop Art. One of the few women to engage with the male-dominated art world of 1960s New York, Strider stood out as a clever and critical voice, producing deceptively simple pieces that burst with satirical wit. Her iconic images of pin-ups — replete with sundrenched, bikini-clad bodies, parted red lips, and saccharine smiles — offer an incisive yet playful commentary on the objectifying gaze with which many of her male counterparts approached their subjects. Strider is also known for moving beyond the two-dimensional plane of the canvas, incorporating sculptural elements of foam, wood, and other materials that project into the space of the viewer. These “built-outs” pose a challenge to the viewer’s comfortable sense of voyeurism, forcing one to participate in the space of the work rather than passively consuming it. Strider’s provocative practice continues to captivate audiences, and has been the subject of numerous publications and exhibitions.
James Verbicky’s unique process of collaging vintage print media with resins and dyes results in panels that burst with color and pattern. Like Verbicky, Brooklyn-based artist Shinji Murakami appropriates images from popular culture. Familiar forms from video games and electronic media come to life in Murakami’s pixelated sculptures and paintings. By elevating the commonplace into fine art, Verbicky and Murakami both celebrate and critique mass culture.
Though figurative artists Pedro Bonnin and America Martin approach their subjects quite differently, both painters are best known for their skillful depictions of women. Pedro Bonnin is remarkable for his deft handling of oil paint, but what further distinguishes him is his rare ability to create moods. Bonnin’s darkly comic figures frequently border on the absurd. On the other hand, Colombian-American artist America Martin’s abstracted portraits, often of women in repose, are saturated with joie de vivre. Punctuated by strong lines and tropical colors, Martin’s work captures the bliss of a private moment.
The arresting palettes and vigorous compositions of British artist Anthony Hunter allow for works that are both emotionally powerful and visually captivating. Hunter, who has been immersed in the art world as an art fabricator for Damien Hirst, dazzles viewers with his contemporary twist on abstract expressionism.
“Life Candy” welcomes audiences into a world where Murakami brings flat digital images into three dimensions, Verbicky creates lush multimedia works from the discarded advertisements of yesteryear, and Martin envisions larger-than-life women in shades of magenta and turquoise.
These artists will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you’re sure to find the right artistic expression!
JoAnne Artman Gallery
326 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, 92651
Contact: JoAnne Artman
Open Wed-Sunday, 11-5 & by appointment; First Thursday of every month 6-8pm