13 September - 18 October 2003
Metro Pictures opens the 2003/04 season with an exhibition of 20+ years of drawings by Los Angeles based artist Jim Shaw. The exhibition includes rare airbrush works of the late 1970s, the narrative and illustrative drawings of the 1980s My Mirage, many 1990s Dream Drawings, and works from Shaw's new Americana pseudo-religion O-ism.
Drawing is the one constant in Shaw's wide ranging enterprise that regularly embraces every medium (painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, music, etc.) useful in exploring the myriad nuances of his fictional constructs. Shaw's skillful and diverse works on paper are often highly detailed and technically meticulous, but can also draw upon informal drawing gestures and graphic styles that quote comic books, storyboards, advertising or illustration. Shaw's sources, in addition to current and historical art references, is often the vast expanse of the seemingly ordinary but eccentric and obscure cultural detritus found in used bookshops, thrift stores, and flea markets across the U.S.
My Mirage is a visually coded coming-of-age tale as told by the artist's alter-ego "Billy", an "every kid" born in the 1950s that covers his adolescent cultural landscape of the 1960s and 1970s. Begun in 1992, the Dream Drawings are Shaw's documentation of his vivid dream life that provided the content for much of his painting and sculpture of the period. Shaw's recent O-ist work, exhibited last year in New York at Metro Pictures and the Swiss Institute, includes abstract expressionist marks purported to be from the Book of O.
Jim Shaw's work is currently on view at Magasin, Center National d'Art Contemporain, Grenoble, France. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles will show the full My Mirage series. Everything Must Go, a survey of Shaw's work, was exhibited at Casino Luxembourg, MAMCO in Geneva, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. Thrift Store Paintings (actual found paintings) were shown in 2000 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Shaw's work has been included in major shows of Los Angeles art including Sunshine and Noir, which originated at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe and the United States. His work was included in the 1991 Whitney Biennial and in the 2002 Biennial of Sydney, Australia. Jim Shaw's works are represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
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