He’s a well-known and respected Pop artist—but not in the conventional music playing ways. Peter Mars, leader of the avant-garde Pop Art movement for the past 20 years, has been described as one of the greatest living pop artists of our day. And as of tomorrow—and if you happen to be in Auckland—you can view his extensive collection for yourself with an exhibition at the Lonely Dog Gallery.
Mars fuses and confuses the traditional distinctions between high culture and low art. Silkscreen combined with hand-painting is Peter Mars’ medium of choice. Mars engages his subject matter in a way that allows images speak to us and each other and in juxtaposition, they agree or disagree, ask questions, emphasize or interrupt, as if in animated conversation. The result is textured, complex, wry and always more than the sum of its parts.
“Right away I loved the feeling of working with silk and ink and that sense of excitement never seems to fade. I love the high spinning sound you hear when you pull the ink across the silk. But most of all, I love that final breathtaking moment when you lift the screen from the paper and the image appears, as if by magic,” says Mars.
Mars explores American pop culture, the passage of time, and the icons that each period adopts as its own. Billboard advertisements with years of old ads peeling through, outmoded wall-paper designs overprinted with modern icons, recognizable typography overlaps young female faces, antique Coca-Cola logos combined with a fresh-faced Elvis – each elicits a multiplicity of American eras and cultural identities. Much of Mars’ work reflects the pop culture of his childhood in the 1960s and 70s, notably the idealized American family,comic book figures, television and space age inventions.
“If you look at the collaborations between Warhol and Basquiat, you willunderstand what my art is about. In the mid to late 80’s, with the death of these two leaders, I felt this was my place. Like the trail of bread crumbs left by the advance party, these previous explorers had ventured this far into the unexplained wilderness and the next generation of Pop Artists would need to start from where they left off. I was coming up right behind them and I would start at the end of their trail.
“This was and is Pop Art.”
Where: Lonely Dog Art Gallery, corner Customs St East & Commerce St
When: November 5 – 15.American Pie.