art ltd. Magazine Lucid Dreams Review

Lauren Buscemi of art ltd. magazine visited “Lucid Dreams” this summer. Proudly, Lauren wrote a great review that provides a glimpse into the diverse and eclectic mix of contemporaries featured in this thematic exhibition. (Souther Salazar, featured above). Read on...

San Diego
“Lucid Dreams” curated by Mark Murphy

Curated by San Diego-based designer/filmmaker/publisher MarkMurphy,“Lucid Dreams” features an eclectic mix of artists encompassing Pop-Surrealism, Folk Art, and graffiti. The common thread is Murphy’s appreciation for narrative and craftsmanship. Standouts are Jim Houser, Bonnie Marie Smith, Mark Todd, Esther Pearl Watson, and MeganWhitmarsh. LA-based Mark Todd and collaborator Esther Pearl Watson are part of a wave of urban bohemians bringing a DIY aesthetic into the art world.

Like many of the artists who grew up in the 1970s, Todd is influenced by Star Wars, comics, and zines. Homage to Jack Kirby withMarvel’s Fantastic Four as backdrop, Todd’sDreamer (2011) illustrates a heavily-lidded male immersed in the world of comics. His deadpan expression conjures Todd’s portrait of author/filmmaker Miranda July created for McSweeney’s. (Mark Todd, pictured above).

Esther Pearl Watson’s Gas and Coke,(2011), a naïve folk-style painted collage depicts a family eating watermelon outside their car under the night sky. Including the text,“We ran out of gas and coke so we busted a watermelon on a rock for our supper… things work out,” it is a nostalgic work recapturing a nomadic childhood. (Esther Pearl Watson, featured above).

LA-based MeganWhitmarsh also grew up in the 1970s, and shares an affinity for Star Wars. Her tiny 6” square embroidery work 5Th Ray (2011) features her signature yeti waving to a princess/heroine. Intricately executed using bright thread, it skirts the line between tongue-in-cheek and reveling in innocence. (Megan Whitmarsh, featured above).

Philly-based Jim Houser has a presence in SoCal designing skate decks for Toy Machine. His illustrated painting Waylaid (2011) reflects his strong color palette and distinct minimal style. A flat-blue cartoon figure wearing sneakers sleeps cradling a red wine jug against a dark backdrop with a single night star. Knotted twine circles the canvas creating texture and evokes the sea. The overall aesthetic merges 1970s folk with contemporary skate design.

Kingston, NY-based Bonnie Marie Smith’s installation of 27 miniature earthenware and porcelain sculptures provides an interior world of fragmented doll parts reminiscent of Louise Bourgeois. These intricate works require close inspection where playful humor and a darker subtext can be discovered. (Bonnie Marie Smith, featured above).

“Lucid Dreams” invites viewers into the private imagination of artists who have proved successful at breaking down boundaries between design, subculture and the art world. Fantastical and humorous escape is offered. These worlds are pleasing to enter, but to reside there seems to risk holding on a little too tightly to youthful obsessions.


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