Postponed for nearly a year due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an upcoming exhibition at Blue Line Arts finally gives regional artists working in Pop-related genres a moment to shine. The exhibition explores connections and distinctions between a group of related art movements: Pop Art, Pop Surrealism, Lowbrow, and Surrealism, approaching social and political commentary through dream imagery, pop culture, and commercial icons.
Wild Dreams will show alongside Wasted Youth a solo exhibition for Sacramento artist Brandon Gastinell, who brings a lusciously surreal, street art twist to digitally collaged celebrity portraits, and juried selections from local artists for Pop and Lowbrow. Participating artists for each of these shows have been patiently waiting for one year—as it was the first exhibition in 2020 to be canceled due to COVID-19. Featured artists from the invitational include M.Mark Bauer, Amy Nelder, David Yoas, Eric Maclachlan, and Diana Ormanzhi. The Broad Education Gallery will feature a solo show for artist Jim Abuan.
Wild Dreams of a New Beginning is named for a 1976 poem by Beat publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti. A surrealist vision of American cities being overwhelmed by a giant wave, the poem ends in hopeful ambiguity about the ability of civilization to continue on or possibly start anew after complete devastation. “When we were looking for a name for the show in January of last year, we chose it because of the thread of surrealism that ties a lot of the main exhibition and its concurrent shows together. But it feels particularly relevant right now, in ways that we could never have anticipated last year.” writes Blue Line Arts Co-Director Brooke Abrames.
From the disruptions that a global pandemic has brought to our daily lives, to the cry for equity and social justice that have swept the nation, to the recent start of a new political administration, the ‘new normal’ has for many come hand-in-hand with a re-examination of our relationships with consumer goods and experiences, the environment, and messages portrayed by various media and popular culture. Wild Dreams of a New Beginning offers a visually dazzling range of artistic perspectives on these themes.
“The contrasts and activity of my paintings reflect the voyage through a human dominated world with its perplexing and unpredictable realities. I use humor and sarcasm in my art to help me cope with humankind’s folly of self-destruction,” Bauer writes about his work, which has been featured previously in the Crocker Art Museum and The de Young Open.
Featured artist Amy Nelder also uses humor to reflect on the absurdities and anxieties of 2020, with Scarcity the King, depicting with mock solemnity a lone commercial pack of toilet paper.
To browse the artwork online, or to tune into the virtual reception event, visit bluelinearts.org or follow @bluelinearts. The gallery will remain open to visitors while remaining within safety guidelines Tuesday through Saturday, 11-5. To schedule a private appointment, or for visits for groups of five or more, please contact the gallery. Walk-ins are also encouraged. Masks are required. Free educational resources via the Tour Talk & Create program are available for educators and parents online.
The Harvest Beyond the Veil
Thumb a Duck
M. Mark Bauer
Scarcity the King
Participating Artists: Group Exhibition
M. Mark Bauer
Linda Fitz Gibbon