Each summer San Diego plays host to the world-renowned Comic-Con International, which since 1970 has featured all things related to comics and the popular arts. Swelling to over 130,000 attendees in recent years, the event encompasses the entire downtown area for four consecutive days each July.In the middle of this year’s frenetic activity, L Street Fine Art is featuring “Perplexion,” an exhibit of Pop Surrealism by five San Diego area painters. With an opening reception on July 6, the exhibit begins two weeks prior to Comic-Con’s annual Downtown takeover and will run through the months of July and August.
North County artists Mary Fleener, Scott Saw, Julia C.R. Gray, and Linda Ridd Herzog are joined by San Diego painter Shay Davis in “Perplexion,” a celebration of pop surrealism featuring a kaleidoscope of creatures. Through alternative artistic styles, the sometime perplexing images will challenge the viewer’s sense of reality.
Leucadia artist Mary Fleener, cartoonist for The Coast News and a “Zap Comix” aficionado for over 40 years, has participated professionally in Comic-Con since 1986 as both an art exhibitor and participant in panel discussions regarding underground and women’s comics. Her paintings in the “Perplexion” exhibit have been selected from two diverse bodies of work representing her “Cubismo” style as well as selections from her “Symbolic Vistas” on velvet, with her particular brand of humor woven throughout.
Fleener is also curating “Living Lowbrow,” an exhibit of artworks by 23 select artists whose work loosely defines Pop Surrealism. On display in the Encinitas Library from July 16 to August 27 with a reception on July 27, “Living Lowbrow” will include work by Cardiff artist Scott Saw.
Scott Saw first ventured into the world of Comic-Con as exhibiting artist sharing a booth with Fleener. Although his meticulous paintings featuring symbolic animals and anatomical human hearts seem dark at first glance, they express a sense of hope that through the experience of pain, new life can be realized.
Cardiff artist Julia C.R. Gray, whose work has been described as “magical surrealism”, paints large canvases of brilliant color. Her “Koi People” series is based on mythology, exploration of her spiritual connection to nature, and concepts of gender balance.
Linda Ridd Herzog of Vista creates a realm of fantasy mixed with extreme realism in her paintings. While in dream state Herzog experiences detailed visions of her creations, which she later captures on canvas with exquisite technique. Her goal is that viewers enjoy being a part of the fantasy without trying to decipher its meaning.
Shay Davis, working from his San Diego studio, infuses each of his precisely detailed paintings with multiple layers of symbolism, which he derives from dreams, meditation, and life events. His work demonstrates adept handling of paint, design elements, and subject matter achieved through the study of painting masters.
These five artists illuminate worlds of fantasy through diverse perspectives and artistic styles, leaving meaning open to the viewer’s interpretation. Even if you don’t plan to take in Comic-Con, the “Perplexion” exhibit is not to be missed.
An opening reception will be held July 6, 6-9 pm at L Street Fine Art, located at 628 L Street, San Diego. The exhibit runs through August 25, 2013