EXHIBITS - ANDY WARHOL: HOMEMADE & PETER COMBE: PUNCHED & SHREDDED

 

SMITH ANDERSEN NORTH presents

Andy Warhol: Homemade

& Peter Combe: Punched & Shredded

December 4 - January 31, 2011

Please join us for an Opening Gl?gg Reception Saturday, December 4, 6-9pm

 

 From 1952 to 1971, Andy Warhol lived with his mother, Julia Warhola, who immigrated to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia in 1921 and throughout her life, maintained her thick accent and traditional dress. She made a mark early on in Warhol’s career with her distinctive handwriting that graced many of his prints and drawings. She was commonly known as “Mrs. Warhola”, or simply “Andy’s mother”.

‘Andy Warhol: Homemade’ uses this collaboration as a starting point for an exploration of Warhol’s early career, from the whimsical books and drawings of his first years in New York to the beginning of his explorations of Pop Art.

‘Homemade’ features illustrations from Wild Raspberries (1959), a mock cookbook Warhol created in collaboration with his mother and Suzie Frankfurt. Playfully illustrated with gold leaf trimmings and Julia Warhola’s characteristic misspelled calligraphy, Wild Raspberries includes recipes such as “Omelet Greta Garbo” and “Oysters a la Harriman”.[1] Among the other early works is a series of rare fashion sketches from the ‘50s and excerpts from A Gold Book (1957), self-published in an edition of 100 and printed on gold and hand-tinted paper. Julia Warhola makes yet another appearance with Holy Cats by Andy Warhol’s Mother (c, 1957), a sewn-bound book of her cat portraits, dedicated to “my little Hester who left for Pussy Heaven.” [2]

While Warhol’s hard-won induction into New York’s burgeoning Pop Art scene was a clear turning point in his career, his interest in popular culture and especially the cult of celebrity is seen threaded throughout his work in his continued and loving attention to the icons of the day: James Dean appears leaning against a wall of whiteness as a simple line drawing in A Gold Book; there’s an ornate shoe dedicated to Ana Magnani, Liz Taylor against a red background, then Marilyn Monroe in dizzying repetitions [here, editioned by Sunday B, Morning]. Finally, Warhol himself appears, just reaching icon status as well, staring back at the viewer from a shiny pool of silver paper.

According to Warhol’s brother Paul, Julia Warhola served her children Campbell’s soup when they were growing up.[3] Whether or not there’s any truth to that, ‘Homemade’ pays tribute to the possibilities.

Peter Combe has been experimenting with household paint swatches (the kind made free to the public at the local hardware store) for a number of years, creating 2-D and 3-D works with thin, shredded strips and thousands of disc shapes punched from a colorful spectrum of paint samples. In his ‘Head’ series, Combe produced “pixilated” renditions of random and anonymous ‘head’ photographs pulled from the Internet. By applying the ready-made paint chips to his work surface to protrude at a 45-degree angle, Combe creates an optical illusion for the passerby, manifesting the illusory and transitory nature of Internet imagery in a physical form. By titling each head with its corresponding jpg tag, i.e., ‘09h16473 Head’, Combe pays subtle homage to the anonymity of his source material. Combe’s recent exhibitions include California Open, juried by Karen Moss, at the Orange Country Museum of Art TAG gallery, and Tomorrow’s Master’s Today at the Albany Institute of History and Art in Albany, NY.

 

[1] David Bourdon, Warhol (New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, 1989) 67.
[2] Bourdon, 51.
[3] Bourdon, 99.