ROBERT POKORNY // THINKING, STARING & SMOKING
ROBERT POKORNY SOLO EXHIBITION
July 31 – Sept 18, 2021
Artist Reception: July 31, 2021, 1-4PM
Johansson Projects presents Thinking, Staring & Smoking, a solo exhibition with paintings and drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Robert Pokorny. After a year of working in relative isolation, Pokorny’s unconventional portraits depict allegories of confinement: Pent up energy, discord and balance, deep conflict and pure harmony.
Pokorny’s studio practice is defined in part by an ongoing conversation with great painters of the past: Philip Guston, Pablo Picasso, and David Park, as well as living artist David Hockney, to name a few. Using his own form of stylized figuration, his portraits explore an amalgam of experiences over the pandemic period with humor and cynicism, culturally tinted by California’s counterculture movements and weird fiction.
A response…by Garrett M. Brown
“What a long strange trip it’s been…” might be the Grateful Dead refrain you hear as you view Robert Pokorny’s stunning collection of paintings (acrylic on linen), drawings (charcoal and crayons) and a portfolio of unframed drawings. Rather than sitting in a bar, The Grateful Dead would be jamming to us, along with Mr. Pokorny, his wife and their dog, in the confines of a pandemic locked-down brightly lit “night studio”. And, like all of us, coming from this turbulent pandemic-ravaged year, Jerry Garcia, too, would be “Thinking, Staring & Smoking” – the title of Pokorny’s new show at Oakland, California’s Johansson Projects. This is a brilliant homage to Philip Guston, Picasso, mixed in with the likes of The Hairy Who, The Chicago Imagists and R. Crumb with a little bit of David Park. Contemporary and very Pokorny, Thinking, Staring & Smoking – is a grand green-eyed and sausage nosed stare into the revelations and comforts of being stuck together, joint in hand, drink near, and hopefully – luckily for Mr. Pokorny – a beloved wife and dog to share the wearying into the nights. This is not a raging into that good night but rather a very enlightened (see the Guston reds, the Picasso eyes, the masks, the barricades, the curls of smoke, the wrung hands as they tilt perhaps towards Ben Shahn) and humorous (not glib or cartoonish but layered and identifiable) grappling with the terror, panic, and depression that a lot of us weathered these past eighteen months and survived. Now, please, join Lily, Mr. Pokorny’s sweet dachshund – I swear her hot dog shape inspired those noses (!) — and his green-eyed muse, wife Char, and Robert himself, harried, hairy and harbinger of grand things to come – as they rouse us to leave those conundrum doldrums of yore and come back into the light, yes, the very bright lights of that night studio.”
The exhibition runs from July 31 – September 18, 2021 with an opening reception on Saturday, July 31, 1-4PM
For more, information please contact Johansson Projects at 510-444-9140 or firstname.lastname@example.org