Exhibition of Performance, Paintings, Drawings
and Sculpture, 1979-1999.
Meridian Gallery, San Francisco, CA.
John Sheridan's 20-year back-to-the-future retrospective of painting,
sculpture, and performance powerfully conveys just what a weird, warped, tumultuous,
and mythic place America is: a schizoid culture perennially at war with itself
(not to mention the world at large). From early performances (e.g. the 'Hitler
Toss' at Fisherman's Wharf) to the iconic canvases of the '90s (*Doctor X
*; *The Night of Darwin*) gravity's unpredictable pull continues to play a
pivotal role. As the artist cultivates a compelling Jackson Pollock-meets-Captain
Marvel aesthetic, he floats hyperrealistic figures (resurrected from moldy
undervalued secondary sources -- B-movie posters, pulp novel covers, etc.)
atop ebb-tiding abstract nebulae. In an art-negative society that pillories
art--and artists-- as either frivolous or dangerous, perhaps it's not surprising
that Sheridan's paintings have periodically elicited myopic shrieks of 'sexploitation'
(populated, as they are, with a sex-positive cast of bodacious femmes, as
well as chiseled beefcakes like 'George Brush' and 'Captain Triumph') and
have felt the sting of the censor's lash.
If most explicit in recent barbed scultpure incorporating Barbie and G.I.
Joe, political undertows--revolving around race, sex, class, and gender--continue
to churn uneasily beneath the controlled chaos of the canvases' whorling backgrounds.
And like the pregnant conundrums of his 19th-Century artist hero, Edouard
Manet, Sheridan's images revel in their own ambiguity. As the millennium grinds
to a halt, Sheridan has created a distinctive body of pop-surrealist Americana.
-- Harry Roche, Curator.