Brad Benedict's SIDESHOW
Art is a reflection of the society in which it is created.
The 'Golden Age' of American illustration -- the era by the Saturday Evening Post Maxfield Parrish, Norman Rockwell, et. al.-- served to promote an idyllic version of the American Dream. I forged a cultural common denominator for a nation that was still provincial, small-scale, decentralized adn strikingly smug about it's values, sensibilities and life-styles. The illustrations, paintings and popular art of this period were meant to convey soothing, reassuring images.
Evolving from roots firmly planted in the influences of America's 'Golden Age' of illustration, the Sideshow represents a rather different perspective on art and popular culture.
Sideshow is a gallery exhibition presenting the creative works of more than 30 diverse artists who share a common attitude, the genesis of which was the 'New Pop' of the mid 1980's. That attitude -- over the years described by various names such as Pop-surealism, Lowbrow, New Brow, Underground-- has been the hallmark of a generation seeking to stimulate, to grab attention and occasionally to shock.
These artist, now as well as then, are eclectic in their techniques, media, styles, influences and ideas. Yet they are linked by their shared faith in the power of highly personal images in an increasingly faceless society. they don't smooth over the rough corners of their subject, these creators express their unconventional and iconoclastic visions through irony, through turning familiar dimensions of the American Dream inside-out or upside down, through brash colors, through exaggeration and very often through humor. The humor is essential. It keeps self-righteousness and pretentiousness at a minimum, while highlighting the absurdity of so much of what passes as real life. -- (excerpt from the curator's statement)