Pop-Surreal Playhouse
Curated by Greg Escalante and 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 “Playhouses” for us to explore. Yes! Art can be fun!

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