P O P·u·lar
Greg Miller. John “CRASH” Matos. Michael Callas
Showing: Fall/Winter 2020
Location: 346 N Pacific Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
♩♪Popular, I know about popular ♫♭
JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present, “P O P·u·lar,” an exhibition featuring the works of Greg Miller, John “CRASH” Matos, and Michael Callas. Inspired by the long-running Broadway musical Wicked, and its famous song, Popular, the show examines contemporary society through the lens of Pop Art. Touching on notions of conformity, beauty, popularity, and the current cultural landscape, Miller, Matos, and Callas challenge convention through their inclusion and disjunction of pop-culture and advertising.
In the aforementioned musical number, Popular, the song comically explains how popularity is dependent on specific aesthetics, poise, and interests. Turning this mentality on its head, these artists call on a rebellious spirit of counterculture to infuse their Pop Art sensibilities. Recycling recognizable ideas for their own compositions, familiar images, symbols, and brands are reborn as spray painted canvases and surfaces comprised of skateboard planks and bottle caps. Cleverly embracing and rejecting mainstream appeal, P O P·u·lar is a testament to an ever-evolving mentality towards consumerism and what constitutes fine art.
Integrating image and text with moments of poetic juxtaposition and historical allusion, Miller often uses found objects, archival texts, illustrations, and photographs as a base. Completing the works with elements of typography as well as the painted form, he produces optic landscapes of great narrative depth. With each piece chronicling the past, present, and future, Miller’s unique brand of Americana celebrates and notes society’s ties to the iconic imagery that transcends the passage of time.
As a young teen stemming from the Bronx, Crash (b. John Matos) ran with the local kids, tagging subway cars, creating large murals, perfecting his style and making a name for himself amongst the New York graffiti scene. He is one of the first graffiti artists to make the transition to canvas. Combining text with form, he creates all his work from freehand, showcasing vibrant compositions reminiscent of Pop Art in 1960s while reflecting his own signature style.
Growing up in Southern California in Orange County, the combination of the area’s natural beauty with its planned communities and highly curated environments were a heavy influence on his artistic process. Rooted in Pop Art, Street Art, graphic design, drafting, and his life in Southern California, Michael Callas’ paintings are done entirely with spray paint and stencils. Integrating figure and his background in architecture, Callas combines character archetypes and bold color within each work. Intricately produced through a vigorous process of drafting, mapping, and hand-cutting precise templates, Callas creates a surface that is uniform and rich in color.
These works will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you’re sure to find the right artistic expression.