4/2: Max Grundy and Dennis Larkins art exhibition at La Luz de Jesus Gallery
La Luz de Jesus
April 2 – 25, 2010
Artist reception: Friday, April 2, 2010 ~ 8 pm – 11 pm
La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
323-666-7667 Fax: 323-663-0243
“My work conveys a concept of the future from the perspective of the past. I infuse each of my images with rebelliousness, industry, freedom, conflict and impending disaster” states artist Max Grundy. By paralleling the Atomic Era and today’s times of terror, social and political pressures, Grundy gives his work a narrative that is both familiar and unprecedented. Created with enamel on aluminum panel, “Out of Order,” Grundy’s new body of work, portrays the tension created between man and technology and the impending apocalypse. Grundy’s interest in vintage 40’s/50’s era poster design is major inspiration on his art. He admires its use of unusual perspective, limited color palette, dramatic text and design to create maximum effect. Flat shapes and clean design are conducive with the time period of influence. Grundy believes this style has the ability to reach out and grab a viewer because of its economical graphic quality. Grundy’s works have been collected by the likes of Metallica’s James Hetfield, producer J.J. Abrams, Hell’s Angels founder Sonny Barger and “Overhauling” host Chris Jacobs. With a B.F.A. in Illustration and an M.F.A. degree in painting, drawing and art history, Grundy lives and works in Los Angeles, California as a full time artist. www.maxgrundy.com
Many years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth and played loud rock music, multi-media dimensional assemblage and fine artist Dennis Larkins was busy bringing set design out of the Paleolithic with revolutionary arena rock stage concepts. Under the aegis of legendary promoter Bill Graham, Larkins brought a vision of monolithic drops to life in the form of towering painted backdrops and scrims. Taking what he’d learned as a painter of stage backdrops for the San Francisco Opera, Larkins almost single-handedly designed and painted the set decorations for the annual “Day on the Green” music festivals, such as the original legendary “Monsters of Rock” festival (featuring Aerosmith and Ted Nugent), concerts for Led Zeppelin (in what would prove to be their last American concert), the Eagles, Journey, and many more legends of Seventies rock.
Bill Graham Productions’ development of the stadium/arena as a venue for concerts, demanded performances that delivered a memorable show not only in terms of the music, but in the visual aspect as well. Larkins was one of the earliest developers of these revolutionary new staging concepts. Working from a design, often conceptualized in conjunction with BGP producer Peter Barsotti and executed in a matter of days, Larkins would literally hand paint and hang extremely large, full sized backropdrops from the stage superstructure. . In addition, Larkins also performed yeoman’s work as a graphic artist for BGP producing t-shirt designs and posters. Larkins career as a set designer reached its zenith when he designed and implemented the Rolling Stones 1981 American tour set package in conjunction with Japanese graphic artist Kazú.
In the next two decades, Larkins saw an evolution into a respected career in themed exhibit and attraction design, taking a job in the Disneyland Parade Float Shop, where all those nifty floats you see making their way down Main St. three to five times a day are constructed. Soon after, Larkins moved up to a desk job as a Walt Disney Imagineer. He later went on to work for a diverse spectrum of theming outfits, both on a freelance basis and as full-time employee, from the Korean company SuperTech to local contractor SpectraF/X, from MCA/Universal to Warner Bros. Studio Stores to Sega GameWorks. Larkins filled what free time he had with his own work in fine art. It was during the ‘70s and ‘80s that Larkins developed and refined his dimensional technique, at first with great gobs of paint, later in mixed media using various plastics and flexible materials.
“Read Between The Lines…” accompanies the release of Larkins’ book, “Startling Art: Revealing the Art of Dennis Larkins” (published by La Luz De Jesus / Last Gasp) which takes an often-irreverent look at one man’s personal creative journey, both personal and professional. From his legendary posters for the Grateful Dead and monumental set designs including many never before published photos of his days with Bill Graham Productions, to the meat of the book, a riotous extravaganza of pop-surrealist fine art, page after picture-packed page reveals the startling contents of one of the great unrecognized creative minds of the past half century.
Larkins earned his BFA degree from the Kansas City Art Institute with post graduate studies at Yale University and at Colorado U. in Boulder. Larkins’ art is in the collections of the Bill Grahm estate, Morgan Spurlock, John Malkovitch, Carl Gottlieb, Don Henley, “Cheech” Marin, Taran Smith, Jay Nailor and Billy Shire.