Mindy Solomon is pleased to showcase the works of Mark Flood and Sam Jablon in Dirty Words – an exhibition curated by Bill Arning Exhibitions
Dirty Words is an exhibition of two very different painters’s work from different decades that nonetheless share the strategy of using words on canvas as blunt instruments to both abuse and delight viewers in equal measure. Mark Flood shows his art historically revered yet under exhibited museum/ gallery works from the early 90’in which official communications from art institutions are mutely replicated. These masterworks are displayed in concert with Sam Jablon’s newly minted luxuriously painted text based paintings. Bill Arning, who in his museum years organized the first major Mark Flood survey entitled “Gratest Hits” and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in 2016 will balance the two mavericks in one space.
Mark Flood cultivates the persona of a bad boy, priding himself on an aesthetic forged in punk rock then transplanted whole to the world of art. But in fact he is as far from a nihilist as possible manifesting the faith of an enraptured true believer in art and artists. That faith is evident both in his crucial work from the 90s in which he looked critically at the institutions of the art world and in his passion for finding, supporting and aligning himself with the next generation of significant art makers like Sam Jablon.
Jablon similarly plays the part of a rough -round-the-edges nihilist, crudely blocking words like FUCK FUCK FUCK on surfaces of various sizes. Yet looking for mere minutes longer reveal a crazy attention to beauty and a deep care in the ways the paint itself hangs around the armature of written English. Were he just interested in who viscerally turns against and who loves his given FUCKS as much as his more poetic language choices like SUN SUN SUN or Guiltless.
As Jablon is also a poet he articulates the mutuality of language using types of brushstrokes to later meaning as a poet’s chance and tone do during a live poetry reading, savoring the fact that meaning is typified by its slippages.
In Flood’s early paintings in which he focused on all the parts of the art machine that is at its furthest remove from where real art happens, fundraising letters, art world society columns even an honorarium check he received under a name he had in another life, we are amazed how little these nicely worded letters reveal of the raging artist who nearly got arrested for a painting that advised that we should “EAT HUMAN FLESH.”
At the rewards of a life in art vary but these two artists are sharing a venue here as testament to both their mutual respect and affection, but also on their shared ability to remain pure to a vision that seems bad ass but is a pure expression of belief in the power of what art can be.