Urban Pop, Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition, Main Line Art Center

Leslie Friedman, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

Leslie Friedman, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

“For its visually dazzling decoration and intellectually for its information overload, the strategies of Pop influence my art making.” – Leslie Friedman artist statement

The Betsy Meyer Memorial Exhibition at the Main Line Art Center features three artists whose work takes ideas, concepts, talent and technique to make art pop, The skate punk influenced room designed by Leslie Friedman is like going in a Clockwork Orange style club with ramps and wheat paste style graphics. The gallery vibrates with kinetic, color and cultural energy. The graphics are about ‘Jewish identity and it’s relationship to mainstream America’. Leslie takes cultural memes and marks them up with street style, graffiti and hip-hop. The Star of David floor tiles are perfect for break dancing.

DISTORT, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

DISTORT, The Passage, acrylic on canvas mounted on aerosol cans, $400.00, Urban PopMain Line Art Center, photo by Spike Howard.

The exploded spray paint cans up-cycles an artifact from the culture of tagging to reveal the dreams of being an artist. Pop art is about being popular, tagging is anti-social yet highly visible, like the way pop stars do outrageous stunts to capture our attention, taggers exploit the public sphere for attention.  DISTORT blows up that myth by painting emotional, deep and storied artworks that recall the masters of the Renaissance but in a cool contemporary concept.

DISTORT, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

DISTORTUrban PopMain Line Art Center

DISTORT repurposes old car parts like bumpers and hoods to paint on. And it’s not graffiti, it’s classical painting that tells a story in a beautiful illustrative style with thoughtful narratives. DISTORT brings back the historical context of pop art and it’s reaction of fine art against advertising and manipulated media images and presents a ‘constant barrage of tragic events’.

“As a regular car-driving American, I am aware that my life is cantilevered by war.” – DISTORT artist statement.

Jay Walker, Urban Pop, Main Line Art Center

Jay Walker, Pyrotokos, tape, Urban PopMain Line Art Center

“Bring us the fire and light these rags aflame. Show us yourself with headlamps of your presence.

Prometheus gave a vision of a hero, bound for giving us hope and light.

Pyrotokos moves mysteriously as his gift, I am thankful for what it destroys.

Speak uttterances and grunts known to the fire, I need an advocate with a flaming tongue.

Destroy and build, create and tear down, bring the change.” – Jay Walker artist statement.

Pyrotokos is a drawing made with tape that extends across the walls and ceiling and down the other side onto the floor. The use of low level materials like packing tape and duct tape to create a spiritual message of redemption and resurrection by walking through the fire is really the essence of pop culture. Amie Potsic, the curator of Urban Pop at Main Line Art Centerby bringing together artists who reflect their generation through their art yet break through new cultural barriers the same way Pop artists in the 1950’s rebelled against the attitudes of their time.

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Written and photographed by DoN Brewer except where noted. Thank you to Spike Howard for contributing to DoNArTNeWs.

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