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Museum aims high with ‘Lowbrow’ art

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Museum of Art’s “Lowbrow Art: Nine San Diego Pop Surrealists” drew close to 400 art lovers and pop surrealism “cult followers” to the Jan. 24 preview reception.
Notable San Diego area artists Mary Fleener, Charles Glaubitz, Pamela Jaeger, Tim McCormick, Scott Saw, Scrojo (Craig Haskett), Jason Sherry, Jen Trute and Ron Wharton are on display at the exhibit, which is curated by Jerry Waddle and Michael C. Gross.
“It clearly demonstrates this form of art hangs together in the San Diego region,” Skip Pahl, Oceanside Museum of Art executive director, said.
Pop surrealism takes 1960s pop art’s expressions of adversity and use of common objects one step further and makes complex narrative statements with comics, photography and form. “This generation of younger artists was raised on pop culture,” Gross said.
“I was born in Studio City, pop art images are burned into my mind,” Tim McCormick
said. “I approach pop art
from the ideology of a fine painter.”
McCormick’s wall-size painting “Pitfalls of Modern Romance,” combines surrealism, figurative expression and honest introspection. “It’s a hodgepodge of people, childhood, early memories,” McCormick said. “I had to have real feelings to create the painting.”
Fleener’s painting “Our Lady of Conspicuous Consumption” speaks out on the glorification of guns and war with geometric figures and an unexpected cheerfulness. “Irony can have humor,” Fleener said.
Sherry’s point of view is displayed in assembled sculptures and collages that bare 20-plus word titles as complex as the thoughts behind the art. “I always try to make things I want to see, things that make me laugh,” Sherry said.
One of Sherry’s whimsical sculptures is built with a typewriter, banjo parts, guitar parts, photograph and wood crutches. “It’s my limitations in understanding the string theory,” Sherry said.
Scrojo, known for his playbill designs for the Belly Up Tavern, calls himself a glorified poster artist. Asked if his instantly enjoyable event posters are more art or advertisement, Scrojo “opts” to let the viewer decide. “Either or, draw your own line,” Scrojo said.
“Lowbrow Art: Nine San Diego Pop Surrealists,” is on exhibit at Oceanside Museum of Art through May 24. Several special events will highlight the exhibit, including Art After Dark on Jan. 30, and Lowbrow Art Talk with curators Jerry Waddle and Michael C. Gross on Feb. 26. For more information, visit
Hear pop surrealists Tim McCormick, Scrojo and Scott Saw talk about their work at