Last Saturday, renowned artist Ron English celebrated the debut of his solo show, “Popagandastan,” at Corey Helford gallery. The ambitious, large oil paintings, highly detailed and saturated with color, appear exuberant from afar but up close reveal antagonistic images that combine opposition with desire. While contradictory, there is a story strung together by a kaleidoscope of the artist’s signature motifs. The hyper-surrealistic country of “Popagandastan” includes a new cast living in what English calls a Pop-Utopian society where dinosaurs and kaiju (Japanese monsters) roam alongside familiar characters like “Mousemask Murphy” and “Baby Hulk.”
Its acid-pop narrative can be considered a loose take on Aesop’s Fables — a collection of stories inspired by absurdity told through the eyes of the underdog. Never one to pass up on the humorous details and novelty, Ron created his neurotic main character, “Ronnnie Rabbbit,” as his own alter-ego who coexists with creatures like the “Combrats”, t-rex riding clowns who enforce the community’s laws, “Snappers,” “Wolves,” “Quacks,” and “Cowgirls.” Every one of them has a part to play in this twisted, yet horrifically honest representation of the unraveling of our modern world. “Popagandastan” by Ron English exhibits at Corey Helford gallery October 26 – November 16.