Paul Mavrides "Art Work Makes You Free" @ Steven Wolf Fine Arts, SFJuxtapoz // Thursday, 13 Feb 2014
Juxtapoz is going to make a field trip today to a show that we are really exicted about, but seeing that it comes down on Saturday, we think you need to head over as well if you are in the San Francisco Bay Area. Paul Mavrides, a member of the influential Zap Comix! underground comic collective and longtime resident of SF's Mission District, has a show up at Steven Wolf Fine Arts. This is Mavrides' first show in 10 years, and is a collection of found object wood paintings.
From the gallery... "Mavrides is member of the ZAP Comix collective, as well as a founding associate of the Church of the SubGenius, a rogue psychotronic religious cult, which he still serves as official apostate. His many collaborators have included Gilbert Shelton, Robert Crumb, film directors Alex Cox and Ron Mann, Survival Research Laboratories and The Residents, and he successfully fought a high-profile taxation and free speech case on behalf of cartoonists and comic book readers against the State of California.
"Having trolled for years in garbage cans and thrift shops for the post war-without-end religious icons, alien dolls and space-age weaponry that he sometimes alters into sculpture, it was only natural that Mavrides would find a way to repurpose actual "fine art." Unlike Jim Shaw, who collects found paintings for their outsider charms, Mavrides can't resist the urge to have the final say, ambiguously dealt with in the painting, Paint has No Power.
"Even though Mavrides has been combining words and pictures for years, with this series he elbows into a field with a high bar for success that almost no one reaches. Grandiose, overblown, self-important, simple-minded and obvious are the words that come to mind for most text paintings. There are some important exceptions like the work of Christopher Wool, whose black and white paintings marry the heroic questing of abstraction with the dry negation of pop art; and that of Ed Ruscha, whose pictures developed from looking at billboards through a car windshield, and deeply channel American modernity. However, it is Wayne White, the Los Angeles artist who paints candy colored word sculptures on vintage prints, whose work Mavrides most closely touches. But where White, who limits his source material to mass-production lithography, is anarchic, poetic and whimsical, Mavrides is more like a soap box preacher—or a conman—doing his ultra terse, highly critical graffiti on someone else's personal land."