From Ken Johnson’s review in the NYTimes: Fathered by figures like Big Daddy Roth and Robert Williams, a movement affectionately called Lowbrow by its adherents has been percolating out of the quasi-underground pop culture of Southern California since the 1970s. Lowbrow paintings typically feature illustrative technique and comically weird imagery. Mark Ryden is a master of the style. Painting and drawing with the skill of a Beaux-Arts academician, he creates funny pictures of big-eyed female waifs whose dreamy innocence is bizarrely incongruous with the grotesque situations they are in. The largest painting, at 6 by 4 feet, portrays one of Mr. Ryden’s baby dolls in a misty park wearing a pink party dress that turns out, on closer examination, to be made of slabs of meat and sausages. In a scene set in an old-time outdoor cafe, Lincoln, wearing a loud, green plaid suit, serves a young femme a plate of raw hamburger that he has processed through a meat grinder….Such zany pictures hint at what creepy psychic stuff might pullulate beneath the sentimental, nostalgic and naïve surface of modern kitsch.
“Mark Ryden: the Gay 90s Olde Tyme Art Show,” Paul Kasmin, New York, NY. Through June 5.