Sleeping Beauties – The Have Mercy Paintings,” speak to that thinking by presenting a thesis in the form of a question: What and why haven’t we learned. Though the camouflaged suggestiveness of Sparky’s expressive forms, the work addresses such sensitive contemporary-vintage issues as equality, discrimination, gun violence, and vulgar politics.
— Tom Everhart

Sleeping Beauties – The Have Mercy Paintings

CHASE CONTEMPORARY
November 15 - December 15, 2018

 

ARTIST STATEMENT BY TOM EVERHART

Sleeping Beauties – The Have Mercy Paintings

In 1982, my friends Sparky (Charles M. Schulz) and animator Bill Melendez invited me to their quaint row of animation houses, in Los Angeles, to view the production of a new project focusing on the tragedies and sacrifices of war. This animated special, “What Have We Learned, Charlie Brown? A Tribute,” aired on the CBS network on May 30th 1983, Memorial Day in the United States. Due to its sensitive subject matter, it aired only one other time in 1984. It was a rare but compelling example of Sparky’s process to approach and tackle sociopolitical attitudes in the broadest philosophical sense.

“Sleeping Beauties – The Have Mercy Paintings,” speak to that thinking by presenting a thesis in the form of a question: What and why haven’t we learned. Though the camouflaged suggestiveness of Sparky’s expressive forms, the work addresses such sensitive contemporary-vintage issues as equality, discrimination, gun violence, and vulgar politics.

In this new body of work, from 2018, the greeter and commentator painting, “Have Mercy,” frames Sparky’s character Snoopy carrying a large assault rifle. Conjoining picture and painting process, the drawing is directly appropriated from a Schulz strip dated, December 17,1988. Superimposed over the image is the strip’s complete text along with his initials and date of publication.

When Sparky sent it to me, weeks before its publication, I was in the early treatments of radical chemotherapy. But more importantly, I was completely involved in the embryonic thinking of my body of work of the next 30 years. When it was oddly published again, in December of 1997, (because he did not usually repeat), I asked for his opinion to use it as visual object and subject matter in my work. His response was, "use it when you think the time is right."

The immediate relevancy of this 1988 strip’s message is not only historically reflexive, but articulates a theoretical position that begins the questioning of “what and why haven’t we learned?”

 
 

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