The Pit is pleased to announce Civil Piss War, a solo exhibition by LA based artist Mark Verabioff in The Pit 2 gallery space. For the exhibition the artist has created a new large scale diptych panel work with his signature collage style incorporating accumulated black and white portraits, page tears from magazines, chewing gum, and text. The artist has also installed two large metal sculptures reminiscent of clothing racks, and displaying customs t-shirts, and other media.
The t-shirts hanging from the metal armature sculptures function as three dimensional collages, as each has a “page tear” mounted to the front. Verabioff’s page tears are a minimalist approach to collage that incorporate a full magazine or book page which is then altered by the artist, often times with the inclusion of text or blocking out certain areas of the original image.
The exhibition creates a cross-generational dialogue featuring Verabioff’s page tears from the coffee table book “American Legends” alongside images of “Warholian” screen tests of young white male models, attendees at gay clubs, nature photography and fig- ures from pop culture. Verabioff’s page tears feature figures like Katherine Graham, an American publisher who led The Washington Post for more than two decades overseeing its most famous period, the Watergate coverage, which eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon. In the exhibition her portrait stands as a symbol of support for freedom of the press during a time when wide spread doubt and fear of “fake news” abound. Another page tear features the portrait of R.C. Gorman, a Native American artist from the Navajo Nation who has been referred to as "the Picasso of Native American art”. The text across the portrait reads “WATERSPORTS PROTECTOR” bringing the contemporary political climate of Standing Rock, and global warming into the dialogue, as well as making reference in solidarity with the gay fetish PISS sexual role play and discourse.
The large scale diptych work introduces a metaphorical border, or war zone, with the physicality of the two panels. The northern panel being a barren landscape containing an image of polar bears underwater, reaching out and touching one another. An image that brings to mind Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam fresco, as well as continues the conversation of climate change in a conservative political moment. The works southern panel features an image of two male club goers with the text “MOON JUICE” “BABOON BOYS” running across it (Baboon Boys are men who participate and assist with actions and protests by the Guerrilla Girls). Another portrait of Jim Henson states “Its not easy be’en green.” The exhibition has a sardonic sense of humor running concurrently alongside a scathing outlook on the current state of conservatism in politics, and the USA. Civil Piss War will open the weekend of Donald Trump’s inauguration.
A limited edition Risograph printed zine has been made in connection with the exhibition, and printed in an edition of 150. The first ten from the run have been personally modified by Verabioff and are available in The Pit’s zine shop. Also on display in the zine shop is a selection of Verabioff’s page tears.
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