The career of painter-cartoonist Guy Colwell is explored in an upcoming retrospective at 111 Minna Gallery. “Walking, Talking, Stalking” tracks the artist’s work from the 1990s to present. Colwell says that the pieces “should each be read as an essay about the state of life from the perspective of one big primate at this moment in time.”
The artist emerged as an prominent figure in underground comics in the 1970s—and continued to contribute to both this field and elsewhere as a painter. His work, dubbed “figurative social surrealistic” in nature, often take on social and political issues and the broader Western experience. In 2004, Cowell painting “The Abuse” caused a stir in depicting abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. The owner of the San Francisco gallery that showed the piece was threatened and assaulted for the showing the piece, garnering international coverage.
On the work in this show: “This artwork is outward looking,” the artist says, in a statement. “Confronting the world as it is and engaging in public discourse about it, are more important than exposing the inner self or producing beautiful spots of color to decorate walls. It is artwork that looks at the human world as we find it now in the early 21st century. It is artwork that looks at the natural world as it is, threatened and threatening. And, at its crucial heart, this artwork is an exploration of the relationship, or more precisely, the alienation that exists between these two worlds.”