On December 3rd at Spoke Art in San Francisco, the latest solo show from Serge Gay Jr entitled Absolute Happiness opened. The same night this show opened I was at the reception of Dan Harding and Joanne Augustine’s I See You See Show (reviewed), so of course I had to check out the show a few days later. I was surprised to see that even though the reception was past by a few days, the gallery had a good amount of people inside, one of which was the artist himself. I not only grabbed some photos, but was also able to talk to Serge a bit about his working process and inspirations.
I was first alerted to Serge’s work from a previous job I had in Berekely doing t-shirt design. Serge was one of the artists that created unique designs for the store before I came along, and I was often asked to remake or alter the designs he created. Each time I was asked I would let them know I was far less skilled, and they should be happy with the design Serge made. I looked his site up at work one day and was also happy to see that not only did he do some apparel design, but painted as well. I saw one his works in a group show at Spoke Art, and once I learned of the solo show he was going to have I made sure I checked it out.
While a few pieces int he show had some collage elements to them, Serge works primarily in acrylics. He told me that he uses little mediums and mainly just water, light washes are applied until the paint is built up. The amazing thing about the paintings is that they have the same punch and exciting color that oil paintings often have. To fully appreciate the level of detail and colors in these works is to see them up close. I also liked the fact that even though the paintings are filled with detail, he is also very loose and energetic with many of the brush-strokes.
For a short while Serge, myself, and another patron, talked about politics and specifically the painting he made of President Obama. He talked about the idea of three sides, as you can see in the painting an african mask, skull, and the man himself. Just to the left of this painting was a diptych piece of Michelle Bachmann’s husband, Marcus Bachmann entitled Mark. The painting plays on the rumors about Marcus trying to cure homosexuals, while many think he could be gay. Overall it’s a very good show, filled with exceptionally skilled paintings, some fun, some with pop culture references, and a few with political and social messages in them. If you have a chance head on over and check out the show, it’s up until December 31st, otherwise head on over to Spoke Art now to see the rest of the show.