Jim Shaw: Cakes, Men In Pain, White Rectangles, Devil in the Details
Patrick Painter, Los Angeles
2525 Michigan Ave, Unit B2
Santa Monica, CA 90404
May 6 through June 17, 2011
Jim Shaw suffers from “monumentality,” having created an incredibly boisterous, all-encompassing, mind-bending, hell-raising, alternately tender and fierce group of epic paintings in his most recent exhibition entitled Cakes, Men In Pain, White Rectangles, Devil in the Details.
Working with several different ideas at once, Shaw has managed to combine important disparate elements, the first being an ink jet print taken from vintage ‘50s household magazines depicting decadent images of cakes. Shaw uses oil paint to, as he puts it, “overlay the images, using an Abstract Expressionist trope;” and the third element involves Shaw’s fascination with the medical illustrations of Dr. Frank Netter, which portray, again quoting Shaw, “the intersection of the physiological and psychological experience of pain with the individual’s physical response.” Imagine the fascinating shock of a man sitting down at an upscale restaurant for what he thinks will be a groundbreaking interview with a prestigious international magazine, only to find himself burned alive with a blowtorch.
The power inherent in these paintings derives from Shaw’s unflinchingly humorous self-analysis, as he frequently uses his own body as a subject. In the compelling panel Jim, (Anger, Frustration), Shaw shutters and grimaces even as his belly grossly protrudes into the picture plane. The image is seductive, too, as Shaw’s grotesqueries transform into an amalgam of deliberate theatrical misfires. Each of these panels is “missing” a piece of itself, Shaw having excised their central units and placed derivations therefrom alongside, which frankly read more like acts of hysteria than explanations. The overall effect of these paintings is well-fashioned and ribald humor on the edge of madness.
Jim Shaw, Cake (Daniel), 2011
Oil on digital ink jet print and acrylic & ink on panel
Painting: 37-1/2” x 40” (95.3 x 101.6 cm) = 1,500
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