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click to enlarge American Fundamentalists by Joel Pellatier
  • American Fundamentalists by Joel Pellatier

Fundamentalists can be a dreary collection of souls. Artist Joel Pelletier depicts no less than 100 domestic fun-killers in his most current and ambitious painting "American Fundamentalists (Christ's Entry Into Washington in 2008)" to be displayed at the Smokebrush Gallery this Friday and Saturday as part of the theater's VOTE/PEACE exhibition. The reception and panel discussion on Friday at 6 p.m. promises to be a lively affair touching on themes of art, politics and religion.

Pelletier's featured mammoth work, 8 feet 4 inches by 14 feet 1.5 inches, is loosely based on the work by Belgian artist James Ensor's 1888 painting titled "Christ's Entry into Brussels, 1889," in which the artist ridicules a swath of politicos, pundits and haute couture. The carnivalesque parade of recognizable figures is a dig at fundamentalists of various shades from Ensor's era as is Pelletier's of ours.

Pelletier targets over a hundred influential and powerful Americans who he believes hold a rigid set of fundamental beliefs in the areas of religion, economics and politics. Literal interpretation of the Good Book, an unwavering dedication to Monopoly Capitalism, and conservative agenda political chicanery are all par for the course for this crowd.

So where's the fun in fundamentalism? Here's the fun in Pelletier's work: Borrowing the "Where's Waldo" theme, ask "Where's the bloke that gassed me at the February 15, 2003, International Day of Protest?" (upper left corner) or "Where's the Senate bigwig who endorsed former City Councilman Ted Eastburn's unsuccessful bid for mayor?" (middle of the southeastern quadrant) or "Where's the millionaire beer tycoon who is running for Senate?" (huddled together with the other Adolph descendents), Pelletier's work is good for hours of fun at the expense of a few fundamentalists.

-- Aaron Menza

capsule "American Fundamentalism" by Joel Pelletier, part of the Vote/Peace exhibition

Smokebrush Gallery, 218 W. Colorado Ave., under the bridge

Friday, Oct. 22 and Saturday, Oct. 23

Panel discussion with the Freethinkers of Colorado Springs, Friday at 6 p.m.

Call 444-1012 for more

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