October 4 - November 6, 1994
Discontents and Debutantes features paintings by two artists whose imagery occupies a precarious social interzone between fantasy and taboo, private and public, childhood and adulthood, and personal and media-induced realities. New York artist Mike Cockrill, creator of The White Papers, a scathing pictorial voyage through American culture from 1963 through 1980, has exhibited paintings dealing with sex, politics and dysfunctional family life since the early 80s. His monumental paintings of girls on cusp of adolescence exude an ambiguous eroticism that leads us to rethink our views on voyeurism and decorum. A dark humor saturates Brian Calvin’s canvases, which transform popular cartoon characters such as Charlie Brown, Olive Oil, and Fred Flintstone into crusty, pock-marked down-and-outs. Injecting three-dimensional topics like suicide, despair and self-loathing into characters from a two-dimensional, child-friendly realm, this young Chicago artist combines the stylistic and anecdotal mastery of Van Gogh, Vermeer, and Guston with the most banal popular icons imaginable.