'Moral Assault.' Photo: PtD.
FIELD NOTES: A new mural by street artist Izaac Zevalking, the social-political operative behind the brand Recycled Propaganda, continues his crafted commentary that uses pop-culture references.
This one is loaded. Titled “Moral Assault,” the large-scale stencil work uses the Morton Salt logo, known in the canon of corporate marketing as the Umbrella Girl.
Visible from the sidewalk on East Colorado just east of South Main Street, the icons of innocence are set against the blue field and repeated as a trio, so the stepping forward is now a synchronized march of defiance. The piece states protection from the elements is no longer hiding under an umbrella, but raising a fist in clenched protest. With the gesture of head facing down, the hand in the air kindles the moment when gold medalist Tommie Smith and bronze medalist John Carlos wore black gloves. They raised their fists in a Black Power salute when the national anthem was played during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
What are the three salt girls protesting? That’s not clear. Is it something from the current White House that questions a moral choice via Tweet or policy action? The title also hints that sexual assault is the topic. It could be anything. During these times seeking something to speak out on is not hard. In this reign, it pours.
Cory McMahon Photo PaintThisDesert
FIELD NOTES: Cory McMahon is a painter who carries a peaceful aura. Don’t be fooled. His experimental work is a fury of strategic risks. Coming in the UNLV MFA Studio Art program he was known for his large-scale abstraction. One time he has an earlier work, a large painting, on the back wall of then CAC gallery for a group show. It caught the eye of art critic Dave Hickey, who was sitting on his throne across the room waiting to chat up “25 Women: Essays on Their Art.” Hickey looked up from his cup of coffee, saw the large canvas with fierce brush strokes and, in that Southern one-part-warm two-part-grumble, asked whoever was listening: “Who the hell did that? . . . It’s good.”
During his time at UNLV McMahon looked to go further. When the graduate students held an open house, he checked out hardbound dissertations from the UNLV library and stacked them in a display window. He called the installation ‘An Investigation of Analysis of. . .” McMahon even left his safe house of painting for his midway to explore ideas. That exhibition wasn’t what was expected.
So, what? I thought. That’s the point, isn’t it? To take chances.
McMahon's thesis show opens February 26. From his description, he is exploring the ideas of artist intent. I am looking forward to what he says about that through his art. The reception is March 9.
February 26 - March 10
Reception March 9, 2018
Will Rogers Monument"August 10, 2017, San Bernardino, California Theatre. Photo: Ed Fuentes
Field Note: As the sun's light was hitting the golden hour I was near one of my favorite pieces, "Will Rogers Monument" (1998-1999) by Kent Twitchell. It is made of two portraitures; the east side shows Rogers in his performance years: the image of a cowboy looking back with wise eyes. On the west side Twitchell captured Rogers’ mischief as a political commentator. He has been quoted to have said "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat" and "There's no trick to being a humorist when you have the whole government working for you." Imagine the witticisms from Rogers that would inspired by today’s political climate.
I found out details about the mural itself for a 2012 post at KCET:
The two murals, titled "Will Rogers Monument," were profiled in the San Bernardino Sun and stated that not only did the humorist make several appearances in the inland region, his last live performance was at the California Theatre was June 28, 1935. Rogers and his friend, aviator Wiley Post, died six weeks later when their plane crashed in Alaska.
"Will Rogers Monument" is on two sides of the California Theatre, located at 562 West 4th Street, in San Bernardino, California.