Cultured Cells

The graphic style used by comic book illustrators has long been seen as something of a poor man's art form, but few mediums give us such a timely glimpse into our culture. The ultra-violent, vivid and kinetic imagery is a pretty telling barometer of our life and times. After 9-11, for example, comic books were uber-patriotic: Panels were splashed with red, white and blue, and troops were honored at every turn. Lately, though, the superhero serials have taken a bit of a dark turn with apocalyptic themes in spades and pages more saturated with hues of blood than with any sort of optimism. It's a highly reactive medium, which makes it no less of an art form than any other contemporary graphic rendering. California artist Mark Todd reinforces the artistic legitimacy of the comic book in his current exhibition at Plush Gallery, 918 Dragon St., by taking seemingly superficial illustrations from classic comics and tweaking them just enough to emphasize their context. The deconstructed and reconstructed mixed-media pieces work as both nostalgia pieces and as a modern examination of how we incorporate the cultural/political climate into art. Comic Book Paintings runs through May 14 at the gallery, which is open from noon until 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. For more information, call 214-915-0925 or visit
Thursdays-Saturdays. Starts: April 16. Continues through May 14, 2011


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