Psychic Violence in America
January 6 – February 17, 2018
Artist Reception: Saturday, January 6, 2018, 4 – 7 p.m.
CB1 Gallery is pleased to present our first solo exhibition of the work of Georganne Deen, Psychic Violence in America. In this new series of paintings, Deen defines psychic violence as abuse bereft of evidence or that which has no laws to prohibit it. The series has been progressing for years and originally focused on the self inflicted violence inherent in narcissism and the unbridled faith in the ego, and on a larger scale, addressing the marketing of opulence and depravity. The past year and a half slapped a new expression on the face of psychic violence, and Deen turned her eye to the gurus of evil who’ve shimmied furthest up the greasy pole. The exhibition will be on view from January 6 through February 17, 2018.
Known for her unconventional methods of circumnavigating the minefields of psychological chaos, Deen says the matrix of indifference to corruption in which she’s felt entangled, and the need to record something, anything that acknowledges experiencing the drama of a dying world, brought to mind the idols of her youth: Goya, Ensor, Grosz and Dix. Driven by an awareness of the sheer volume of blabber that has smoked out all reasonable attempts to locate the truth in this shifting soap opera, she adopted the role of a court painter and PR agent for the age of fatuity, and proceeded to advance the notoriety of the sordid character types and events in formal (psychic) portraiture.
Included in the exhibition are three categories of painting. First, portraits of men, which began as clay maquettes she covered with foil magnifying their hardened expressions. She then photographed these heads and painted the images on muslin and added business suits. One, “Architect of The Toxic Bundle” is a psychic portrait of Lew Ranieri, the man who hatched a scheme of bundling sub-prime mortgages and selling them to unsuspecting buyers by reputable brokers, causing a global financial meltdown. His grinning greasy face appears somewhat familiar and is reminiscent of the portraits seen in offices of corporate executives with a touch of evil.
Fashion illustrations and society portraits from various eras inspired the women’s portraits in Psychic Violence in America. The growing awareness of the collusion between corrupt businessmen and their female counterparts caused Deen to question their humanness. Some of these women are presented as elegantly attired zombies or aliens masquerading as socialites supporting the arts and culture. CEO of Goldman Sachs on trial at the Hague in Balmain evokes 50s fashion illustration by Rene Bouche, but here the woman’s face is a tangle of tentacles and dark glassy eyes.
Found photographs inspired a final category of work in the exhibition. She transferred the images to muslin and altered the narratives by adding and subtracting images. Memoirs of a Lobbyist was once a vintage poster of a blue movie with a sadistic theme. Deen replaced the scars from the backside of a semi nude woman with an artistic rendition of an Exxon logo. Standing beside the slouched woman, the artist added the lower half of a dark man resting his cigar-wielding hand on her head. We see little more than his bling and powder blue loafers, which the woman appears to be fondling. The caption reads: “I just loved those little shoes the short guys wore”.
Georganne Deen was born in Fort Worth Texas in 1951. She studied at East Texas State University with a group of artists devoted to the experimental narrative, which included underground comics and their incendiary, highly nuanced documentation of human nature. In 1980 Deen, moved to Los Angeles to attend the California Institute of the Arts where the rich trappings of the California lifestyle coalesced with her own distinctive visual sensibilities to form a vocabulary that is both intimate and universal.
Deen has had solo exhibitions at The Power Plant, Toronto, Canada, The MAC, Dallas, TX, The Dunedin Museum, New Zealand, Van Horn, Dusseldorf, Germany and Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa Monica, CA Group exhibitions include LACMA, The Drawing Center, NY, ENTWISTLE, London, The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CN, The Blanton Museum, Austin, Museum for Contemporary Art, New Orleans, Mary Boone Gallery, NY, Villa Merkel, Esslingen Germany, Museum de Fortuny, Venice, Italy, The Center for Contemporary Art, Dallas, TX and the Meadows Museum, Shreveport. LA. She lives in Joshua Tree, CA.