Mark Dean Veca
As Cold As They Come
September 12, 2009
through October 10, 2009
NEW YORK, NY (August 11, 2009) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce As Cold As They Come, a solo exhibition of new works by Mark Dean Veca, marking his second solo show at the gallery.
This exhibition includes over 20 new ink and acrylic paintings—the largest of which measures seven feet wide and depicts a hot rod monster reminiscent of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Veca also presents Popeyeconography, a series featuring the beloved comic sailor Popeye, along with the full cast of accompanying characters from the classic strip. In addition to these subjects, Veca mines a variety of genres for his source material including renaissance art, contemporary art, advertising and film.
Using the sculptural forms of toys, statues and other objects as a structure within which to improvise, Veca transforms his subjects into surreal, psychedelic hallucinations of their former three-dimensional incarnations via skillfully stylized line work in the tradition of underground comix icon Rick Griffin.
The show title As Cold As They Come refers to a line taken from the classic film The Godfather in which a leading character (Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino) is presented with a .38 Special pistol—specifically, a Smith & Wesson Model 10 Revolver Snubnose—described as being impossible to trace. This weapon and several other firearms that have played major roles throughout cinema history, appear in a new series of paintings in the show. The .45 automatic from Pulp Fiction is represented for example, as is Dirty Harry’s .44 magnum—nearly as synonymous with the character as the actor who played the film’s lead role, Clint Eastwood, himself. The hard edges of these guns have been softened, corners rounded, and structures formed with organically biomorphic and suggestive shapes and symbols. The weaponry-as-character theme is further explored through imagery portraying grenades and brass knuckles, emblematically virtuous or villainous in the classic battle of good vs. evil.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Mark Dean Veca was born in 1963 in Shreveport, Louisiana, and received his BFA in Painting at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, CA. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been shown throughout the United States, Europe, and Japan at institutions such as PS1/MOMA, The Drawing Center, The Brooklyn Museum, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Reviews of Veca's work have appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, Juxtapoz, Artforum, Art in America, and Flash Art. He has received numerous awards including fellowships from The New York Foundation for the Arts in 1998, 2002 and 2008, as well as a grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2006.