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click to enlarge Marion Pecks Lili Ridin Through the Garden of Eden - isn't "lowbrow" anymore.
  • Marion Pecks Lili Ridin Through the Garden of Eden isn't "lowbrow" anymore.

Walking through the latest exhibit to adorn Sangre de Cristo's Hoag Gallery is like stepping into the pages of Juxtapose magazine. Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art showcases the movement's major players -- Mark Ryden, Gary Baseman, Marion Peck and Shag to name just a few -- as well as local up-and-comers.

Guaranteed to generate lively and likely contentious discussion in art history circles, there's no doubting the influence of the genre formerly, and oftentimes sourly, regarded as " lowbrow."

Kirsten Anderson, owner and curator of Seattle's Roq La Rue Gallery and exhibit partner, succinctly if simply wraps words around the basics of the genre in her statement: "This art, while giving a nod of respect to the Great Masters, surrealism, dada, the Pre-Raphaelites, futurism and vintage graphic design, turned around and gave them a hefty kick in the ass."

Todd Schorr's "The Spectre of Cartoon Appeal," a massive, astoundingly detailed acrylic on canvas, is a candy-flipping feast of Warner Brothers iconography with a three-headed, multi-appendaged, sinister conglomerate of Mickey Mouse, Wile E. Coyote and Elmer Fudd bursting toward the center. But that's hardly all folks.

Liz McGrath's mixed media "Vinnie the Vulture" might have been a cuckoo clock once, but its new resident doesn't recall the sweet-songed, time-telling blue jay of yore. The facial features of "The Winged Wiseguy," as Vinnie is called, eerily resemble Tales from the Crypt narrator Crypt Keeper.

The irony of Baseman's "Dumb Luck V" is so unfortunately familiar that, for some, it might risk oversight. In it, a cyclopean bunny has cut off his own foot for good luck, leaving him literally stumped. The outline of an upside-down dunce cap floats on the canvas, stressing the audacious behavior.

Pop Surrealism's honest, sometimes brutal criticisms might leave some exurbanites dumbfounded. How does a tripped-out painting of a communist child saddling Barbie's horse reflect American culture? Search your commercialized soul inside this exhibit, where the Sangre boldly and very commendably gives credence to what artist Robert Williams calls "one of the most aggressive, vital and overlooked art movements since Pop Art."

--Vanessa Martinez

capsule

Pop Surrealism: The Rise of Underground Art

Sangre de Cristo Arts and

Conference Center

210 N. Santa Fe Ave., Pueblo

Through Aug. 13

Call 719/295-7200 for more.

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