Comics have long been an inspiration and source of material for fine artists. From the giant pop art panels of Roy Lichtenstein to the lumpy cigar-smoking figures of Phillip Guston, contemporary art has often elevated this popular style to the rarefied realm of high art. This month, as it happens, two artists whose works reference the comic strip world are both showing in Seattle in Pioneer Square. Here with our review is KUOW art critic, Gary Faigin.
The fact that both Roy de Forest and Marcel Dzama borrow heavily from cartoons is one of the very few things they actually have in common. The great difference in age between the two artists - de Forest is 71 and Dzama 27 — makes for a serious generation gap. Bay area resident De Forest is an artist who came of age in the heady days of action painting and abstract expressionism. A maximalist, he’s a true believer in the razzmatazz power of paint to celebrate life and release inhibitions. The young Canadian, Dzama, on the other hand, is a slacker — someone whose stripped down drawings disdain color, texture, and sensuality, relying instead on a bizarre and ironic sensibility and the grim humor of the absurd. John Coltraine, meet Nirvana.