Dorothy Circus Gallery presents the first exhibition of 2016: “Sugar High,” the solo show by the father of born-in-USA street art Ron English.
Following his interests in all things mass-produced, food, appliances, identities, mythologies and belief systems, the American artist comes back to Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome for a project dedicated to the theme of food and health, which will be developed through an exhibition that will feature an extraordinary body of works. This amazing collection represents a unique occasion for the Italian public to admire the outstanding technical skills developed by Ron English in all of his oil on canvas paintings.
While introducing the anti-corporate mascot Mc Supersized, represented in a brand new series composed of 13 unique pieces featured in the show, Ron English aims at showing and discussing the “dark side of fast food.” These amazing artworks have been brought to Rome specifically as a dedication to the theme of food and health; they were created through silkscreen printing on canvas but were massively hand-painted by the artist with spray and acrylic, each one in a different way. By showcasing this series together with his other unique artworks, the “celebrated prankster father of dollar-pop” investigates those corporate icons that own the power to shape people’s tastes and choices related to food and, consequently, to health.
This kind of critique was moved by the artist not only through his billboards, paintings, sculptures, and toys, but also through videos and movies. One of the most renowned examples is the documentary movie “Supersize Me” (2004), in which English analyzed ironically the increasing spread of obesity throughout US society.
The issue of food education, however, is nowadays discussed not only in the United States, but also throughout Europe; but as corporate culture becomes global, so does Ron English’s counter-culture. The experience of food heavily relies on a pop art experience, born from the advertising and the bright and fun packaging of the products for sale. This means that a displacement occurs between how food is represented and what people are actually eating. As Ron English states, “Art can be the substance or the sugar coating”; while food industries exploit art to advertise unhealthy food, the American artist’s aim becomes creating a substantial art that can unveil the lies promulgated by this massive corporate culture, in order to stimulate an educative awakening in people worldwide.
“Uncle Scam’s Last Breakfast,” a brand new artwork by Ron English, stands out as the absolute masterpiece of “Sugar High.” This piece exemplifies at best the artist’s point of view on such themes: Christ is replaced by an obese Uncle Sam – ironically renamed “Scam” – whom, while representing the USA, demonstrates all the negative food habits born and grown in that country. The apostles are displaced in favor of other corporate icons, always related to the food industry, which act like cartoonish clichés that are let loose from their bonds as trivialized tokens. The figure of Uncle Scam stands as a totem of unhealthy food habits, which are often sponsored by these international corporations that are responsible for the food market.
This character becomes a vehicle for the artist’s grotesque critique, which drives through all the pieces exhibited on the red walls of Dorothy Circus Gallery. This project aims indeed at shining a light on the way food is gaining more and more attention, in relation to people’s lifestyles. Food education can easily define the well-being of each country’s population, which has spread widely during the last decades; a prosperity that, once brought to an excess, may turn this well-being into strongly unhealthy habits. With this exhibition, Dorothy Circus Gallery entrusts these messages to Ron English’s works that, once brought before the eyes of the beholders, reveal multiple truth about the world and the life we live.
Source: Dorothy Circus Gallery
Till 31 March 2016
Dorothy Circus Gallery
Via dei Pettinari 76
Hours: 10:30am-6:30pm Mon, 10:30am-7pm Tue, 10:30am-7:30pm Wed-Thur, 11:30am-8pm Fri-Sun