July 5, 2008

Peter Saul: Genuinely scary

Long known for his acid-hued paintings melding cartoon imagery with biting social and political commentary, Peter Saul, 74, has influenced generations of contemporary artists. In the 60s, Saul was associated with a group of imagists in Chicago called the “Hairy Who” that disavowed the various New York styles and schools to focus on the human image. Conflating elements of high and low culture, Hairy Who paintings oozed an intensely anti-authoritative political critique. In the LA Times, Christopher Knight reports on Saul's 40-year retrospective at the Orange County Museum of Art. "Saul wields his brush in ways certainly meant to get a viewer to look at his pictures long and hard, using complex color and refined form in sophisticated, eye-grabbing ways. But the contemptible, despicable and even humiliating are what you're likely to encounter in his imagery. The clanging dissonance between hot form and chilling content can be oddly riveting." Read more.

"Peter Saul," Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA. Through Sept. 21. Traveling to Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, October 18, 2008-January 4, 2009.

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