Update: The exhibition has been extended to July 8th!
John Wayne was not a Cowboy. His name was not John, it was Marion and as far as personas go his nickname “Duke” came from childhood, in Southern California where he was never seen without his Airedale Terrier, named Duke. He was a football player, son of a Pharmacist yet when you think of John Wayne you imagine a dusty, rugged frontiersman the kind that wrangled the Wild West. Since the 1940s, going on as late as the 60s, it was his films that informed what it must have been like.
Walter Robinson, “American Rag Dawnn Western Boot” – acrylic on cardboard, 14″ x 22″ – 2016
ReVisions of the American West, is the latest exhibition at John Molloy Gallery, with new works by Lou Beach, Ric Haynes, and Walter Robinson. We get three takes on the examination of an international love affair with the myths of the American new frontier.
Walter Robinson, “Levis 1915 501 Jeans” – acrylic on cardboard, 22” x 11”, 2016
For the most of us, the images of the frontier come from a carefully constructed plot with selling points. Jackson Hole isn’t just a place in Wyoming anymore. Just outside of Beijing developers created a resort town for the relatively few wealthy Chinese, the place looks exactly like Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a place for wealthy people. And the myth of the rugged individualist storyline lives on, taking place in other territories like fictional Universes, other planets, and now China where a rising class embarking on the new phenomena of vacationing consume their way to a sort of freedom.
Walter Robinson, “Wrangler Cowboy Cut” acrylic on cardboard, 22″ x 11″
Walter Robinson continues his middle-brow, non-avant-garde catalog obsession with new works on cardboard. The medium lends an authenticity to the work, portraits of “the west” as style and fashion; representing an unrefined, hard working class that is also inexpensive and disposable.
Walter Robinson, “Unisex Blonde” – acrylic on cardboard, 14″ x 19″, 2016
These days if you want to become something, you order the products online that go along with it and then do your best to fill the boots. Not a good fit? Just keep shopping.
Lou Beach,” Westward Ho, Oh Wilderness” collage, 25″ x 22.5″, 2016
Lou Beach’s storytelling collages of western motifs riff together, he’s also a jazz musician. Gatherings of representational objects, images from ancient children’s books and worlds fair catalogs, construct a spontaneous landscape. While Ric Haynes creates a surrealist fantasy world layered with symbols and iconography of a mythical ilk.
Ric Haynes, “Hot Dancer” watercolor and ink, 22″x30″ – 2016
Residents of Jackson Hole, China are totally serious about living their interpretation of the American Dream, you can’t help but give a grin of curiosity at the spectacle. This is pretty much the pith of the works presented by Beach, Haynes, and Robinson, each with his own style of wit.
The show is on view
through June 18th. EXTENDED to July 8th!
All images courtesy of John Molloy Gallery