Pin It

Review: Palimpsest 

Collages by Michael Pajon, on view at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

click to enlarge art_rec-1.jpg

Hindsight has a way of offering a new view of human experience. Life in the moment can be a hustle, sometimes exhilarating but often oscillating between frantic and boring. Collage artists enjoy an Olympian perspective that enables them to utilize the symbols and icons of the past for their own purposes, and Michael Pajon excels at mining rich veins of vintage pop culture for any transcendent epiphanies they might contain. Like his Chicago mentor, Tony Fitzpatrick, Pajon is big on vintage Americana fraught with euphemistic irony, but his mystical Hispanic DNA seems well adapted to the swampy voodoo vibe of his adopted hometown. In this aptly named Palimpsest series, his collage drawings explore how myths represented in vintage pop culture live on in the present.

A Beat of the Heart, A flick of the Tongue (pictured) features the sort of high Victorian beauty who appeared as a kind of popular pin-up girl in places ranging from Storyville bordellos to the frontier saloons of the Gold Rush, sometimes juxtaposed with the American eagle as seductive symbols of manifest destiny. But beauty and strength were often elusive in the mad, death-defying scramble to settle the old West, and here Pajon's beauty, flanked by a turkey buzzard and snakes, sports the tattoos of a circus or side-show performer. Today, deadly crossings of barren desert wastes are still undertaken, but the new pioneers are mainly migrants fleeing dystopian homelands ruled by armed gangs and drug cartels. In Hands Remember What the Heart Forgets, the so-called "Hand of Power" — that near-universal mojo symbol for the sudden quantum, death-defying leap of faith or luck — appears pierced with a dagger and has flames flaring from its fingernails. Emerging from a serpent-infested flower labeled "Love," and flanked by horseshoes, crescent moons, spiders and songbirds, it is a reminder that despite all the technology with which we now surround ourselves, life and love are still mysterious, and destiny remains a roll of the dice.

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Submit an event Jump to date

Latest in Art Review

More by D. Eric Bookhardt

Spotlight Events

  • 4000 Miles @ Ashe Cultural Arts Center
    1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.

    • Wednesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m. and Sun., Oct. 30, 2 p.m. Continues through Nov. 5
  • The Toxic Avenger @ The Theatre at St. Claude
    2240 St. Claude Ave.

    • Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sun., Oct. 30, 8 p.m. and Mon., Oct. 31, 8 p.m. Continues through Oct. 28
  • The Illusionists @ Saenger Theatre
    1111 Canal St.

    • Through Oct. 30
  • Close Me Out @ Hi-Ho Lounge
    2239 St. Claude Ave.

    • First Saturday of every month
  • St. Claude Second Saturdays @ St. Claude Arts District
    2820 St. Claude Ave.

    • Second Saturday of every month
    • 4 going/interested

© 2016 Gambit
Powered by Foundation