The first Peter Saul's exhibition opened in London at the beginning of this month. The show Some Terrible Problems is displayed in Michael Werner Gallery in Mayfair and will remain open until 5th November.
Saul is an American contemporary painter living and working in San Francisco and is mostly known for his pop art social satires. His inspiration originates in the comic books and cartoon art of the mid-20th century, hence the expressively exaggerated nature of his work. In the late 1950s, he went as far as making Donald Duck and Superman the characters of his paintings. In the 1970s, Saul's work focused on artistic interpretations of the most widely known painters in history. Following these experiments, he was pronounced 'a serial offender in violations of good taste' by Holland Cotter in The New York Times. Overall, the artist's productive artistic life has so far resulted in over 800 paintings.
Some Terrible Problems, just like the rest of Saul's art, is easy to condemn as offensive. The artist does not hesitate to incorporate some ambiguous ideas on race, religion and politics in his paintings. In terms of style, Saul remains loyal to his usual cartoon-inspired characters, yet again portraying Superman in his work. Overall, the exhibition is as much fascinating to look at as it is disturbing. The gallery does not offer any background information, leaving it up to the viewer to figure out the artist's message, which is clearly far from optimistic.
The first Michael Werner Gallery first opened in 1969 in Cologne, specialising in contemporary American and European art. The London office opened in 2012 in Mayfair, which became the third branch of Werner's establishment.