The Good Ol Days, the current exhibition at
Hespe Gallery, shows three
artist's toying with variations on a uniquely American, post-war
era nostalgia, for a time when Modernism and Industry were at
their apex, and the national mood was optimistic.
Donald Fritz, Tim Liddy, and Robert Townsend, (from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and St. Louis, respectively) each approach the topic differently.
Fritz's mixed media artworks remind me of Henry Darger on Prozac: The clutter, the variations in scale, the fixation on little girls and boys as they once appeared in print advertisements for home goods; all remind me of Darger-refreshingly so, I love Darger-but with more draftsmanship and none of the pathological undertone.
And after checking out the Hespe website, with a 2009 oil on copper painting whose source material was the Spanish version of the board game "Operation," it's hard not to get giddy about Liddy. (Somewhere in storage, I still have a 1960-something copy of the English version of the game. I found it at a garage sale and bought it just to look at). Funny, when you remove a mass produced object from it's low-art origin, it suddenly imparts the text with a sort of poemy significance, and a humorous element of camp.
The third artist,Townsend, is a watercolorist but the final pieces look almost like oils. He is one of those painters who paints pictures of machines to make them beautiful. His use of light, and acuity with the brush, create a more contemplative final project.