Stumbling across two by Ron English at Bergamot Station
Speaking of insouciance.
Saturday afternoon during Bergamot’s summer celebration I headed into the Copro Gallery. Copro cultivates a rather unique vibe to its art; pieces I see here are more likely than elsewhere to depict human subjects being awesome, gross, fiendish, or some combination of those. I was browsing around and I spotted Flintstones Origin Story, by Ron English:
The Flintstones’ flesh tones, their bright pink dinosaurs, and their bright orange or blue clothes are what make this painting sizzle when you look at it, especially against the bleak, stern weather and stoniness of the background.
It’s rendered as though it’s a photograph of action figures. What I notice most are: Wilma holding Dino high in the air on a stick; Bam-Bam riding a dinosaur, and Fred in the foremost of the foreground, except it’s not Fred but actually some half-ape half-Fred hybrid, wearing Fred’s clothes. There are actually three Fredlike figures in this painting, and my biggest complaint is that the Fred whose legs are in the dinosaur jaws is posed so that you can’t really see much of him.
I like the juxtaposition of the stern background with the insouciance of the women in the foreground; Wilma is being silly, Bam-Bam is being silly, and Betty is adorable.
Speaking of insouciance, a couple of hours later I had finally meandered all the way to the east side of Bergamot station and found my way into the Robert Berman Gallery. This gallery frequently features works that are immediately recognizable as the Pop Art style, and today was no different. Tucked away at knee level, clustered with a few other paintings and set behind a rope, was a Ron English painting of the Simpsons.
Ron English has been subverting brand imagery, advertising, and consumerism for three decades. This painting is done ina faux computer-graphics style. Look away from the obvious, and there’s a lot of texture and dimensionality to each character’s faces and skin.
If I start writing more specifically about this painting, I’ll have to use the phrase “Homer Simpson’s penis” at least five times, and I’m not quite ready to go there today. So I’ll leave you with an episode of The Simpsons that has Ron English in it.
Okay okay, I just can’t let it go. The urinating looks strange. Like, is the organ protruding directly through the pants? Shouldn’t his fly be unzipped? I can’t quite see it clearly. That is all.