Doctor X (1993), Oil & Acrylic/Canvas, 65 x 60", 152.4x114.3

Hastings College of the Law, "Gender: Power, Violence, Voice." San Francisco, CA.
French Hotel. "Untrue Believer." Solo Exhibition of Recent Painting. Berkeley, CA.

…Political-correctness prisoner John Sheridan continues to mine '50s camp for obscure visual nuggets; recent "gravity" paintings like Doctor X (marks the spot!) should elicit the usual shrieks charging sexploitation….

Art, food and sex sometimes add up to a stick three-course disaster in Berkeley. East Bay painter-provocateur John Sheridan ran afoul of the local sex police when a woman thought she spied a large penis lurking within the acrylic nebula of one of his abstract "gravity paintings" hanging at Au Coquelet. Not only was the work in question removed, Sheridan's entire show was taken down in deference to her hallucination. Fortunately the French Hotel, a nearby café and site of Sheridan's Exhibition "Untrue Believer," doesn't appear to cater to the same clientele. The 11 large-scale canvases and smaller pastels on marbelized paper now on view are littered with loners who have just emerged from psychi(edel)ic wormholes (The Cybernaut, The Vanishing American, Dr. X, The Love Offering, Kanteen Kate) and a working-class, pop-Americana past (resurrected mainly via 1950s pulp novels, campy comics, and trash film-promo posters - Edouard Manet goes back to the future). To achieve these poignant and pervasive four dimensions of separation, Sheridan floats hyperrealistic figures on top of abstract Jackson Pollock-meets-Captain Marvel backgrounds.

-- Harry Roche, SF Bay Guardian


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.

-- Harry Roche, Curator