In the Bopst family tree, paint runs as thick as sap. 

Art in the Family

"Bopst Bopst Bopst"
The Gallery at Corporate and Museum Frame
301 W. Broad St.
Through Nov. 3
643-6858 An interesting, probably unanswerable, question has been raised by the current show at Corporate and Museum Frame — can one genetically inherit artistic skills or is the production of art purely a learned skill? This topic can be broached at "Bopst Bopst Bopst," an exhibition of paintings and collages by three generations of the Bopst family. Included in the show are eight collages by C. Maynard Bopst, eight paintings by his brother Eric Bopst, 14 works by their mother, Joan Marie Bopst, and one painting by the grandmother, Dorothy Patterson. Of course, being cognizant of the familial tie causes the viewer to want to see similarities in the varying works — similarities that may be largely fictional. Nonetheless, a climb up the Bopst artistic family tree is worthy of the effort. Chris Bopst bases his art on a type of Neo-Pop style that both celebrates and denigrates postmodern culture. Pieced together by stickers, newspaper clippings and magazine shards, Chris creates collages that are largely sardonic statements on tabloid-esque stories and sensationalized news. A good example is "The Life and Times of Heaven's Gate." As the title indicates, this collage pokes fun at the 1997 cult and much publicized mass suicide of its followers and their leader, Marshall Applewhite. A photograph of Applewhite's familiar head floats above the center of the composition wearing a goofy, bemused face frozen in mid-sentence. Radiating from his head like rays of the sun are a smorgasbord of repeated motifs: skulls, hula hoop girls, American flags, stars, Barbie, "2 for $1" stickers, and most prominently, Dolly Parton. This kaleidoscope of incongruent imagery somehow amalgamates into a humorous, yet darkly disconcerting statement. The mixture of commercial products, grocery store marketing devices, and American Pop icons lucidly suggests our world of consumerism, commodities and overall fascination with spectacles. After all, the Heaven's Gate victims were all found in Nike tennis shoes. Eric Bopst's approach to the visual takes a completely different form. His paintings, all untitled, come out of the mode of Abstract Expressionism. Full of vibrant, luminous color, the works use crayon, pencil and acrylic paint to express chaos and order through seamless transitions of curved and jagged lines. Although the works contain non-representational imagery, the puzzle-piece forms look like they want to become something recognizable. All the works have a playful, na‹ve quality that is reminiscent of Joan Miro and Paul Klee. Moving along to the Bopst matriarch, Joan's corpus of painting can best be described as fantastical, surrealistic acrylic paintings of fruits, vegetables and vegetation. "Ginger Root" is typical of her style. Focusing on the root, the patterns of the vegetable's surface become swirling, liquefied rings, dematerializing the organic into concentric circles and shapes. Depicted in acidic, almost nauseous colors, the botanical objects morph into animal shapes, sprouting horns and growing eyes. Watery, fluid and weightless, the overall effect is similar to placing a bowl of squash underwater and then painting it. As far as the question of inheriting artistic skill goes, I'll leave it to you to visit the show and decide for yourself. Two common traits that I found running through all the artists' works is the use of rich colors and the method of breaking objects into pieces — whether through abstraction, surrealism or collage. Of course, these are characteristics that inform many artists' works, related or not. "Bopst Bopst Bopst" offers four views from one family. Despite the generational gaps of that vision, it is clear that in this family, not only blood, but paint runs thicker than


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