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Canadian artist Patrick Lundeen's first New York City solo exhibition opens at Mike Weiss Gallery
Installation view of Patrick Lundeen's exhibition at Mike Weiss Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Mike Weiss Gallery presents Good For You Son by Canadian artist Patrick Lundeen. For his first New York City solo exhibition, Lundeen brings together seemingly disparate objects—from flags to rugs to posters to keyboards to grocery store dailies and magazine pages—into cohesive works resembling anthropomorphic masks. Neon-colored, kaleidoscopic patterns embellish six-foot tall cut out canvas masks, speaking to the artist’s fascination with the exaggerated theatricality of Coney Island type characters, the Contemporary Macabre, and Outsider Art motifs. Borrowing from pop culture imagery and the neo- impressionists, the works hover between the humorous and sinister and the naïve and sardonic. Accompanying the exhibition is a 7” vinyl record by the artist’s experimental three man rock band, The Oblique Mystique.

While Lundeen’s musical influences range from the lo-fi genre, and improvisational acts like Hound Dog Taylor to the schizophrenic sounds of Daniel Johnston—it’s a naggingly familiar tune by 80’s crooner Rick Astley that drones from an old Casio keyboard in the piece, Together Forever. In the lo-fi, lo-brow Genie Amp, a vintage Fender Silverface amplifier functions as both pedestal and audio source for a booming silver-faced genie trapped in a T.V. declaring, “Behold, I am Silver Face!” The nostalgic nod is twofold. Despite the purposely brazen use of intentionally awkward elements, the work maintains a sense of authenticity and serves as homage to earlier American culture from before the artist’s time.

The artist’s idiosyncratic sensibility, tastes for tackiness and offbeat sense of humor is evident in his large paintings such as Teenage Dog, Uncle Eddie and Ex-Girlfriend. Hypnotic, rhythmic designs coalesce into amusing yet disturbing faces which are inspired by the Carnivalesque and ceremonial masks. These anxious, hallucinatory patterns of colorful lines and dots carry through in the smaller framed masks which are made from pages of vintage Mad magazines. Lundeen transforms these lampooning illustrations into his own unauthorized, improvisational jam with Mad illustrator, Al Jaffe, whose “Fold-Ins” have been found on the inside back covers of Mad magazines since 1964. Part class clown and part philosopher, the artist cleverly comments on the lingering influence of pop culture and media.

Good For You Son references a sound bite from an unintentionally-funny life insurance commercial that was the source of constant childhood mockery for Lundeen. In the commercial, a man is sitting with his wife when the phone rings and in an overly enthusiastic tone says, “It’s Patrick! He took out life insurance…” then back into the receiver, “Good for you, son!” By sampling the played out sound bite on a track of his album and naming his first New York solo exhibition after it, Lundeen reclaims the benign childhood dis because it really is, “Good for ME son.”

Patrick Lundeen was born in 1978 in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada. He received his MFA from Concordia University. His work has been exhibited in Calgary, Montreal, and Saskatoon, Canada; Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden; Dundee, Scotland; Chicago, IL; and Brooklyn, NY. This is his 13th solo exhibition. He has received several grants including the Conseil des arts et des Lettres in Quebec, Canada in 2006. He is in the permanent collections of the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Canada as well as in the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Art Bank in Edmonton, Canada.

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