The Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum has an excellent exhibition up right now called In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States. All of the heavy hitters are there, including Frida Kahlo, Dorothea Tanning, Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington. Georganne Deen is heir to this legacy of wonderful (and crazy) group of women. Her work has all of the madness and magic and emotion that you would expect from the surrealists but with a wonderful awareness of current cultural cues and graphic design.
Here's how she explains her new show:
The title Song of Myself is taken from the poem by Walt Whitman, a man who saw the world as a place of ineffable beauty, terrifying darkness, and every shade in between, and recognized himself in all of that. To put it another way, he was tripping.
Most people can see the darkness (some call it evil) in the world, and some can recognize themselves in it. And some people can see the breathtaking beauty, the magicalness of the world but hardly anyone can see that in themselves. Therein lies Whitman's genius.
Georganne Deen's genius is something like this too. You can definitely see what she aspires to…and that she's tripping. Her paintings are fiercely intelligent and beautiful.
Deen combines seemingly whimsical characters in her art with heart-wrenching and often hilarious text. There's darkness and self-exploration and insight, but Deen's charm is in never taking herself too seriously. I asked her to send me a photo of her new show while it was being installed, and this was the only image she liked:
Georganne Deen was born in Fort Worth, TX. Her Song of Myself installation runs through July 1 at Webb Gallery.