Esther Pearl Watson, Big Dreams, Mixed media on panel (Click image to view larger)
Sandra Lee Gallery proudly announces Big Dreams, the upcoming solo exhibition of works by LA-based artist Esther Pearl Watson alongside selected pieces by Mark Todd. Big Dreams will be on view June 1-26, 2010, and the gallery is hosting an opening reception, with the artists in attendance, on Thursday, June 10, 5:30-7:30pm.
Watson’s deceptively naïve paintings attempt to capture the youthful innocence of another age, reconstructing an alternative history based on her personal folklore. In a time where most people are jaded by slick graphics and computer-aided design, her paintings are a refreshing breath of a boldly artistic personality. Her rejection of a more polished and glib style, as she mimics the untrained paint daubs of an Outsider artist, questions our deep-seated assumptions about the requirements of fine art. Childlike renderings of UFOs and glittery scenes of small-town America charm the viewer with seeming sincerity, yet the very spell of the scrawled figures is at its core the effect of deeply conscious and deliberate decisions about her creative process. Watson, like her paintings, is much more than just what is apparent at the surface.
The works of Mark Todd, based upon classic comic book covers, provide a perfect companion to Watson’s exhibition. Todd, himself a painter, illustrator and author, likewise explores the effects of memory in constructing our versions of an idealized past. Graphic and decidedly post-modern, these mixed media pieces provide an alternate reading to the themes of nostalgia, mediated by altered reproductions, and the shifting position of pop culture in relation to high art.
Big Dreams opens June 1 and runs through June 26, 2010. Watson’s exhibition will be on view in the main room, and the works of Mark Todd will be displayed in the gallery’s annex room. Sandra Lee Gallery is located at 251 Post St., Suite 310, San Francisco, CA 94108, one block from Union Square.