Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Date with Marilyn, an homage to Warhol

Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 16 x 12"
Painting # 222,  2014

Last year we spent the long Easter weekend in Pittsburgh, Pa It's a wonderful city with many top-notch museums, several professional sports teams, a great downtown core and the skyline view atop Mount Washington is breathtaking. We took in, a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey game with Sidney Crosby leading his team to victory. We also attended the hilarious "Broadway Across America" musical, "The Book of Mormons" at the Benedum Theatre, and a Green Day in concert at the Consol Energy Centre. Philanthropists Andrew Carnegie, Andrew W. Mellon,  Henry Frick and H.J. Heinz II have contributed greatly in creating a lasting legacy, making the city a sophisticated and cultural hub. 

One of the major reason for that trip was to visit the Andy Warhol Museum. I've been an admirer of Warhol's artwork for as long as I've been painting. It was never a question of ''if'' I would visit the Andy Warhol Museum, but ''when''. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. Upon exiting, I even received a parting gift of a large Brillo Soap Pads Box, an homage to Warhol by Charles Lutz, that was part of the exhibition, Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years.   

A few years back, I had the idea of incorporating some sort of Kerr's Candy in a Kerr Mason jar and entitling the piece, "Kerr's in Kerr". The jar and lollipops has been on a shelf in my studio ever since. Being in a Warhol state-of-mine when I got home, I took out a 1991 Andy Warhol Celebrity Calendar which I had held on to for some twenty odd years.  As I started flipping the pages of the calendar, I noticed that the colour combination of the jar/lollipops was the same as the image in that calendar for the month of March, "Eighteen Marilyns" (Reversal Series), 1979. This is when the genesis and narrative for the painting took place. The title suggest an encounter with Marilyn Monroe, a fantasy entertained by many.   

The image above is of my wife Suzanne with another of Warhol's Reversal Series
image of Marilyn Monroe that was on exhibit
 at "La FIAC" (International Contemporary Art Fair) at 
le Grand Palais in Paris in 1989.

Last month, Suzanne and I spend 10 days vacationing in the states of Georgia and South Carolina. As luck would have it, we got to see a wonderful art exhibition entitled "Marilyn, Celebrating an American Icon" at the Jepson Center in Savannah, Ga.  The exhibit includes the artwork of more than fifty artists, ranging in style from Andy Warhol’s Pop Art to photographer Tom Kelley's 1949 famous nudes of Marilyn against a red velvet background. Click on the banner below for details of the exhibition that runs until July 27, 2014.