Pop-Surreal Playhouse
Curated by Greg Escalante & Wendy Sherman

The term “pop surrealism” sounds like a more “fun” way to refer to the Lowbrow art movement that has become increasingly popular since the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Artist Robert Williams, founder of Juxtapoz Art Magazine, is often referred to as the father of the Lowbrow art movement, with its roots in comic books, California surf culture, and Hot Rods. You can see how Williams was influenced by the Surrealists, with his use of dream-like, sometimes psychedelic imagery. With his liberal use of bright vivid colors and pin-up girls you can also see the Pop influence in his work as well.

Pop Surrealism can be seen as a different genre altogether – more refined, not as rough and unsavory as Lowbrow art. By combining the worlds of Pop (Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Mel Ramos) with Surrealism (Salvador Dalí, Max Ernst, René Magritte) with a little kitsch thrown in: Margaret Keane, a more “friendly” version of Lowbrow emerges.

In that line of thinking then, “Pop-Surreal Playhouse” makes art much more fun! The artists in this exhibition take cues from the worlds of both Pop, Surrealism, and more (abstract photography, landscape, portraiture, mixed-media) to create new “Playgrounds” for us to explore. Yes! Art can be fun!

Curator’s Bios

Greg Escalante established Gregorio Escalante Gallery in 2015, a Los Angeles art exhibition space located on Chinatown’s cultured Chung King Road.  Escalante cofounded Juxtapoz Art Magazine with artists Robert Williams, Craig Stecyk, and others in 1994. Juxtapoz was founded on the idea that there was an unrecognized art movement taking place that had no voice and was being completely ignored by the mainstream art world, its institutions, and publications. Juxtapoz has since become the #1 selling art magazine in the world. He also cofounded what is now Copro Gallery in 1993 with Doug Nason as a way to promote and deal in this new art scene. Escalante’s other outings have seen him involved in years of curating at a great many museums, including MoMA in NY.

Wendy Sherman is the Gallery Manager and Assistant Curator at Gregorio Escalante Gallery. Wendy has a BFA in Graphic Design from CalArts and a MFA in Museum Studies and Exhibition Design from Cal State University, Fullerton. Her MFA thesis exhibition, titled Hearsay: Artists Reveal Urban Legends traveled from CSUF to MOAH (The Museum of Art and History) in Lancaster, CA and then was hosted in Downtown Los Angeles by LADAD Space. This ambitious exhibition featured over 40 artists, half of which created art specifically for the show. Wendy has curated two shows at Gregorio Escalante Gallery (John Swihart’s “Selfie” show and Michael Criley “Dr. Awkward’s Clinical Findings on the Back Wards”) and is working on a third exhibition scheduled for 2018.

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