Monday, August 17, 2009

Gary Aagaard - Row away from the rocks

"Call on God, but row away from the rocks."
Hunter S. Thompson

Twitter….another internet networking tool that has exposed me to a plethora of talented artists across the world. American artist, Gary Aagaard is one of them. His highly acclaimed social realism images reveal a wry sense of humor marked by an intelligent concern for society’s contradictory fundamentals. His work was perfectly characterized by Seattle curator, Michael McGivaren, who described it as being a "2D amalgam" of the writing of Hunter S. Thompson.

(self portrait)

Gary began his professional career shortly after becoming a Society of Illustrators Scholarship Award winner in 1982. Since that time, his fine art paintings and illustrations have served as trenchant graphic commentary about notable incidents and public figures from a jarring, yet intelligent, perspective

Neo – Conned God

His work has appeared numerously in such notable publications as The Village Voice, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, Philadelphia Weekly, Barrons and many others.

’99 Bottomline

The artist states:

“My work is the product of my environment over the last three decades. Generally, I've had a positive experience yet tend to be irked by the frequent political and religious hypocrisy, general apathy (relating to war, the environment, fact-challenged pundits, etc.) and dogma of any stripe that leads to social and spiritual tunnel vision. These themes are prevalent in many of my paintings although are often explored using satire and humor as opposed to a sledge hammer (granted, I do use that on occasion, too). That said, during those infrequent times I step off my battered soap box, I paint pieces which will hopefully provide edification or simply a chuckle.”

Model Citizen

Before his 2001 death, David Swift, American producer/director/writer wrote to Gary:

"Gary - Your illustrations are shattering. Some leave a lasting shock. They are certainly not easily forgotten. Don't know the context of their origin but it would certainly tempt me to read the article they illustrate. Had you been born 50 years earlier, you would have been memorialized in the Saturday Evening Post and similar contemporary magazines of the time. You have a marked talent and I would like to work with you. First project I get launched, we will talk."

Religious Right Makes Might

The Ward-Nasse Gallery in Manhattan permanently holds a decade's representation of Gary’s work (with solo shows there in 2005 and 2007) while Klaudia Marr Gallery in Santa Fe, NM exhibits select original oils.

Ma Nature : This Time It's Personal

A particularly notable accomplishments was Gary's portrayal of twelve African American writers who appeared on stamps in Ghana and Uganda.

I borrowed this from Gary’s web site:

“On November 13, 1997, the "Great Writers of the 20th Century" stamps were officially issued in a ceremony at the Smithsonian Institution's Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC. Most of the living honorees and families of the authors attended.

Excerpt from the Washington Post (November 14, 1997) - "My heart stopped....I was bowled over," poet Maya Angelou said yesterday, glimpsing her image on a stamp from Ghana. She was among 12 African American writers honored at the Hirshhorn Museum as Ghana and Uganda unveiled the stamps.

Also seeing their stamps for the first time were Charles Johnson, Rita Dove, Mari Evans and June Jordan. "I have had two thrills today: being on a stamp is one and to sit next to Rita Dove and Maya Angelou is the other," said Johnson, who wrote the acclaimed novel Middle Passage."

Giant on Holiday

In addition to receiving recognition from the Society of Illustrators (NYC), the Society of Publication Designers, Gary has received awards from Print, the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, Aphrodisia II and RSVP. His paintings have been displayed in the Museum of American Illustration, Gallery-Henoch, the Smithsonian, Klaudia Marr Gallery, Xpo Gallery, Mendenhall Gallery, Ward-Nasse Gallery, Gallery Nucleus and was part of the Museum of American Illustration 2000-2001 Traveling Exhibition.
Beginning this month, his work can be seen in several Pacific NW venues starting with Seattle’s Elysian Fields at 542 1st Avenue and in City Trees Furniture and Gallery, 4616 14th Avenue, NW, through September. I am excited about being in Portland in December because it will be there, in a group show at the Beppu Wiarda Gallery, 319 NW 9th Ave. m and I’ll get to see it up close and personal.

God According to Voltaire (inspired by Voltaire's quote, "God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.")

His original art and limited edition, hand-signed/numbered giclees are available for sale.
Interested parties can view a price list of his available art HERE.

Yo Mama

Although Gary requests that Amway and Insurance Salespeople disregard this notice, he can be contacted HERE for further information:

Grange Gangsta Gothic

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Stacy Alexander