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Emotional Pop: Mark George

Advertising imagery has become such an integral part of our cultural landscape that products are often instantly recognizable simply by their logos.  Like his Pop Art predecessors before him, Jacksonville, FL artist Mark George takes inspiration from the inescapable world of advertising, putting his own spin on the Mad Men era.

Of course, there are obvious parallels between George’s work and that of Pop Art icon, Roy Lichtenstein.  Yes, the imagery also takes its cues from advertising imagery and comic books.  But where as Lichtenstein enlarged his imagery to the point of replicating in paint the Ben-Day dots that comprised printed materials of the day,  George chooses to flatten out the imagery even further.

The lack of visible brushstrokes and use of smooth, reflective surfaces emphasizes the slick nature of the mid-centuray imagery.  While the severely cropped faces and “torn” edges of his panel suggest that these are relics abandoned to a different kind of future.

But what interest me most is the emotionality to be found in the faces of George’s subjects.  There is a sad, melancholia about the imagery, bordering on the disturbing.  In this respect, his work could be seen as our past looking back upon itself with current eyes, shocked and saddened by what is seen in hindsight.

What do you make of the faces of Mark George’s subjects?  Please visit his website to see more of his work.  If you’re in South Florida, he will be participating in a show, Jet Set Glamour at Harold Golen Gallery in Miami, opening tonight!

All images are via the artist’s website.

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