Karl Erickson and Andrew Falkowski 10.05.07
AUTHOR: MICOL HEBRON 09.08.07-10.13.07 High Energy Constructs
The title of Karl Erickson and Andrew Falkowski’s exhibition, “The Magnificent Bastards,” refers to the devious artists themselves, the characters depicted in their artworks, and the political figures those characters seem to represent. Several years ago, Erickson and Falkowski, in an act of self-conscious machismo, began to compete with each other to see who could better draw MASH characters. Having further developed their ideas while doing graduate work at CalArts, the artists are currently exhibiting a more contemporary phase of that body of work—a selection of manipulated portraits of Hogan’s Heroes and MASH characters that together form a sardonic, perverse, and particularly Gen-X pastiche that comments on the absurdity of the current war in Iraq. Falkowski paints photorealist black-and-white scenes with Colonel Klink, Sergeant Schultz, and Colonel Hogan in jubilant and vaguely homoerotic poses, at times wearing one another’s clothes or offering a shoulder rub for support. Erickson’s skillful drawings depict the heads of the MASH crew in psychedelic and surreal mutations: Klinger’s face splits in two as he talks on the phone; Hawkeye and Hunnicutt become a Janus-faced bust. Images of a pensive Radar with a literal third eye and Father Mulcahy with a necklace of heads (of fellow characters) evoke Hindu iconography. In their statement accompanying the show, the artists assert: “If you can’t stop ’em, describe ’em.” Given the plethora of abstract figures, narcissistic self-portraits, and formalist sculptures dominating the LA art scene, it is nice that someone is saying something about the ridiculousness of our current political situation. And with ineloquence being par for the course these days, it is a revolutionary act to describe the reality at hand.