Art: The Altered Paintings Project

Art: The Altered Paintings Project

Michael Singman-Aste

The Altered Paintings Project is at REDUX through June 9. Photos by Michael Singman-Aste.

Andrew “Fitz” Fitzpatrick has exhibited some God-awful paintings at REDUX Studios & Gallery over the past few years. At least they started off that way: garage sale castaways he rescues and bestows a touch of irony. His altered paintings were a hit in the group shows “Value Added: Art on Reclaimed Surfaces” in December 2011 and “Your Friends & Neighbors” in August 2012, a credit to “his combination of humor and craftsmanship,” according to Chris Rummell, manager at REDUX. Inspired in part by those works, REDUX opened “The Altered Paintings Project” on April 12.

As raw material for this exhibit, Rummell scrounged prints of paintings from the distribution center of Saint Vincent de Paul, which owns the gallery. “I chose mass-produced works rather than originals,” he said, thereby avoiding the feeling of defacing another artist’s work, like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.

Some of the paintings reflect a once-trendy and now-deprecated aesthetic, such as a lithograph of a very '80s watercolor botanical by Oscar Tejeda, to which Shona Taylor added an antlered Cyclops, serenely fishing. But for the most part the works provided for alteration were quite good, including masterpieces like William Marlow’s oil painting “Capriccio: St Paul’s and a Venetian Canal” (c. 1795). In one of the most surgical modifications in the show, JoAnn Yada added the head and torso of the gargantuan marshmallow man who terrorized New York in the 1984 film “Ghostbusters,” here peeking from behind the cathedral, and rechristened the work “Stay Puft Goes to Italy.”

Other subtle alterations include Elisa O’Keefe’s pleasantly absurd addition of a Goya-like man swinging from an unknown point over the wave-tossed shore of Russian painter Eugene Garin's “Stormy Cove,” and Lynn Landry’s ninjas, presumably uninvited guests crashing a party in a watercolor garden painted by Ray Burdzinski.

Some transformed the work through overlaying elements, rather than by insertion. Fitz added DJ Daft Punk’s helmet to the visage of Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne in Flemish painter Adam Frans van der Meulen’s 17th century portrait, and Jen Yuen drained the blood from Heywood Hardy's, “Shortcut to the Meet,” applying Pomeranians over fox hounds, and turning the hunter’s steed into a unicorn with a purple mane and rainbow “cutie mark,” á la “My Little Pony.”

According to Rummell, some would-be participants wondered if they qualified as artists. He felt that for them it was a good opportunity to collaborate, unofficially, with another artist, as a starting point in their careers.

“Our goal was to remove the heavy hand of the blank canvas,” he said.

The Altered Paintings Project runs through June 9, with plans to make it an annual tradition. REDUX is located at 2315 Lincoln Avenue. They are open from 11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. (510) 865-1109. http://www.SVdP-Alameda.org/redux.php

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.