First Solo Show for artist ShawNshawN – Still Smoking
Opening: January 24th 6-9pm
Exhibition: Jan. 13th – Feb 23rd
ShawNshawN debuting his first solo show at 4th Street Fine Art in Berkeley. His show is focused on a new style he developed called Political Pop. This style reinterprets popular cultural icons into the underlying reality beneath the surface usually focused on a moment when change occured.
One of the subjects is the infamous Malboro man captured in his painting “Killer Cowboy Cloud”. The 4th cowboy advertising for Marlboro died in 2012 (story from LA Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-marlboro-men-20140127-story.html) "He knew the cigarettes had a hold on him," his wife, Susan Lawson, told the Associated Press. "He knew, yet he still couldn't stop." The artist himself smoked the brand over 15 years and his own father was nearly taken twice by throat cancer from smoking 15 years. In the own artist words, “I smoked 10 years before quiting and the damn things will likely take my brother before his time, so I feel I owe the company payback.” This works explores who exactly was behind the campaign and its popularity. Was it Hollywood, US Presidents or Leo Burnett ad agency? In addition to the painting, the artist is selling Morbido cigarette packs signed by famous smokers from JFK to Andy Warhol. A detailed artist interview follows here: http://shawnshawnartist.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/interview-on-killer-cowboy-clouds/
Other themes that are captured are the theme of the Hunger Games just after the release of the 3rd of four films based off the 3rd book in the series “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins. ShawNshawN lived in Poland in the last year of Communism in 1989 and actively witnessed the fall of totalitarianism by the people, so this book rang true to his vision and serves as a device to expose pitfalls of dictatorships like China, North Korea and Cuba. This painting points to the reality of Hunger Games in the US empire we find ourselves in: global corporations dominating the planet, dictators like Kim Jong Un in North Korea and the hypocrisy of leftists coddling dictatorships like Cuba. The painting captures the moment that Katniss defies expectations and sacrifices herself to save her sister with “May the Odds be Ever in your Favor”. A detailed artist interview is here: http://shawnshawnartist.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/interview-on-may-the-odds-be-ever-in-your-favor-painting/
Another topic explored is cyber warfare and 1984-type secret government spying of citizens exposed recently by Edward Snowden. As quoted by Snowden, “I can’t in good conscience allow the US government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.” The artist explores the duality of US-China relations in his work titled “Ride the Dragon on the Plains of Slaves”. Here the infamous Matrix movie is shown with Morpheus asking Neo to choose the red or blue pill, reality or continued fantasy. In this work, the artist exposes the underlying secret cyber war of China and US. In public, both powers claim to be the world’s biggest trading partners. In reality, China has a secret military division 61398 actively hacking Western patents while being the global trade “partner” of the West. A detailed interview follows here: http://shawnshawnartist.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/interview-of-riding-the-dragon-to-the-plains-of-slaves-painting/
The artist will be on site to discuss your questions on the duality of life in his paintings. The show will be Jan 24th from 6-9pm. There will be food, drink and music to enjoy as you bear witness to Political Pop style.
About 4th Street Fine Art
The gallery was launched in September 2012 with 15 artists. Now the gallery has 14 painters and 3 jewelers. The original idea for the gallery was the Art Gym started back in 2002 before changing the name to 4th Street Studio in its second year. One of the founders, Gera Hasse, helped found the new gallery location in 2012.
4th Street Fine Art
2000 4th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
Hours: Fri-Sun 11am-6pm
Show info: http://www.4thstreetfineart.com/still-smoking.html
Exhibition: Jan 24th – Feb 23rd
Opening: Jan 24th 6 – 9pm