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Art review: Rob and Christian Clayton at Patrick Painter

July 31, 2009 |  4:30 pm

New paintings by Rob and Christian Clayton transform the traditional, tabletop still life of fruit the same way a regular cherry is turned into a maraschino: All the natural juice and color are sucked out and replaced by overly sweet synthetics. Graduates of Art Center College of Design and members of the faculty there, the Clayton Brothers giddily flex the steroid-pumped muscle of sensory excess.

Their work, spread between Patrick Painter’s two Bergamot Station spaces, is fueled by manic energy and abides by the principles of spectacle — exaggeration of scale, color, intensity and movement.

Much of the work’s humor is intentional (one image of a man whose head is encased in a giant blueberry is titled “Anti-Accidents”), but with all of its exuberant extremity and unabashed pastiche, it spills well over into ridiculous kitsch.

The brothers lift from Lari Pittman, Alex Grey and the whole lowbrow, beautiful loser street aesthetic. Like faux-visionary rebuses, the paintings use short-cut graphic devices (directional dashes and rays) to jerk the eye from gargantuan strawberries with facial features to bruised bananas, draped overhead like Dali-coiffed tresses. Fruits fly and explode; a rainbow of snow-cone colors buzzes and shrieks. Faces within these scenes of hallucinogenic mayhem stare with extra-wide-open mandala-patterned eyes.

The title of one particularly chaotic image with animate plums and bananas and a single hairy leg in a brace sums it up.

The Clayton Brothers’ new work amounts to a spritz of “Reddi-wip Laughter” — highly processed, fake and frothy.

-- Leah Ollman

Photo: "Topsy Turvy Times of Cockamamie Mumbo-Jumbo." Credit: Rob and Christian Clayton

Patrick Painter Inc., Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 264-5988, through Aug. 29. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.patrickpainter.com

Comments () | Archives (7)

That is some really, really, realy bad "art". It doesnt overwhelm the sense, it revolts the stomach. Trying to be as tacky and garish as humanly possible somehow doesnt fit any known defition of art known to mankind. but then as toncempt art got rid of all such definitions, what the hell!

As a student at Art Center, I would be more angry at having my rather exorbitant admission fee going to such wannabe circus barkers and geeks, than that silly "visionary" President they ran outta town. Either way, you lose. Just goes to show, Academic art is all about distracting us from truth, from the world, from who WE are, our lives IN nature, and searching for god, to being entertained by seeing how absurd and overwraught one can make an object. I always thought absurdist comedy was a French think, for playwrites. How did visual artists get caught up in something so old and played out, and meant as entertainment, only art when it approached life to reveal something in US, not the indivduals childish and self absorbed imaginings.

Once again.
art collegia delenda est
Art college MUST be destroyed.

Some steps in the wind...

I hear, in
the strength
that always
remains, the
delicate rhymes
of a deep
sensibility, and
even a pleasure
where the
sun-rise appears...

Francesco Sinibaldi

The paintings are amazing. Don't see them on the screen. Go see them in person. The Leah Ollman should be fired. I don't think what she is saying is relevent at all to how those paintings are experienced.

I believe we are looking at some of the most powerful and important art being made today.

Critics rarely get it right. This is another case which confirms that.

I'm always right, and feel that history will hold this art and these artist snuggly against her warm and comforting bosom.

LOL! Next you will be telling me it's deep too. LOL!
art collegia delenda est

I am related to this field, these paintings are amazing. I don't agree with those people who are saying that this is bad art.

I can only say I am not moved by what I see on the the computer screen.


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