Rex Jr.'s Epic Battle with PoMO, the malicious post modern clown series

This is a series of large-scale colorful narrative paintings and sumi-e ink drawings greatly shaped by two seemingly incongruous things: staff meetings at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the birth of Charlotte, my first child. I began working at the Contemporary Arts Museum as an intern in 1997. Wednesday staff meetings featured a curator who often spoke of post modernism as if it was a novel concept. To make matters worse, she had shortened the term to PoMo, which I thought sounded a bit like a second tier clown. I began making doodles of him in the meetings. I often felt like an anachronism in those meetings, as I continued my painting practice in a contemporary art venue that rarely exhibited that media. Paintings had gone the way of the dodo, in favor of site-based installation and video.

In 2003 my first child, Charlotte, was born. I was immediately struck by her beauty and her ability to find joy in the tiniest things. After my wife's maternity leave ended, I became a stay-at-home dad. Over the next eighteen months, I became deeply interested in the fact that she was literally seeing lots of things for the very first time. I also became acutely aware of her very strange and colorful toys.

These paintings, which began in 2003, feature a boy who wears a dinosaur suit and loves to paint. He navigates a colorful landscape of children's toys who have grown in scale and come to life. The paintings draw inspiration from my daughter's joy of encountering things for the first time, and her incredible imagination and sense of play. The unnamed boy is in perpetual conflict with his nemesis, PoMo, the postmodern clown, who rules that place. I have begun new images in this series and am attempting to repair some that were severely damaged in Hurricane Katrina.




Rex Jr.'s Epic Battle with PoMO, the malicious post modern clown series | artist statement

The Revolution Begins with a Simple Gesture, oil and wax on canvas, 60" x 66", 2006

Flag Boy, sumi-e ink on paper, 12" x 20", 2006

PoMo Calculates the Institutional Value of Contemporary Painting, oil on canvas, 48" x 32", 2005

No Mo Po Mo, sumi-e ink on paper, 10" x 16", 2006

PoMo is pure gold, encaustic on wood, 16" x 28", 2006

Retro Revolution, ink on paper, 15" x 6", 2005

When Clowns Attack, oil and wax on wood, 30" x 15", 2004

Rex Jr takes the Long View, 17" x 6", 2006

Clown Mountain, ink on paper, 6" x 9" 2005

Rex Jr. pays homage to the Brush, oil and wax on wood, 30" x 15", 2004