Barry McGee (Hi-Fructose Vol. 16 and 25) brings the chaos and grit of the street into the energy of his art. He is well known for his multi-media work that borrows from 1940s and 50s advertisements, cartoons, tags and lettering from his graffiti days. His style is so eclectic, in fact, that McGee has chosen to exhibit under his various monikers like Twist and Lydia Fong, as in his 2008 exhibition at Ratio 3 in San Francisco. For his latest exhibition at Ratio 3, “China Boo”, McGee remixes his most recognizable motifs. There are stacks of surfboards, empty liquor bottles, painted with portraits of cute characters, and a new series of pottery and ceramic objects. His paintings are dominated by vibrant, geometric patterns, doodles of faces and trippy ASCII art. Even words like “Fong”, referring to his creative aliases, are scattered throughout. Another large-scale, mosaic-like piece combines contrasting patterns and images rather haphazardly. We can almost get a sense of how McGee sees the world through his taste for this kind of organized chaos, whose natural instinct is to make art anywhere and everywhere.
Barry McGee’s “China Boo” is now on view at Ratio 3 art gallery, San Francisco through December 19th, 2015.