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David Mayrs: After That All Hell Broke Loose

Trench Contemporary Art
Vancouver BC – Oct 20-Nov 12, 2011

David Mayrs, Mirror, Mirror (1966)

David Mayrs, Mirror, Mirror (1966), oil on canvas [Trench Contemporary Art, Vancouver BC, Oct 20-Nov 12]

David Mayrs, The Bachelor (1962/1964)

David Mayrs, The Bachelor (1962/1964), oil on canvas [Trench Contemporary Art, Vancouver BC, Oct 20-Nov 12]

David Mayrs, The Old Maid

David Mayrs, The Old Maid (1962/1964), oil on canvas [Trench Contemporary Art, Vancouver BC, Oct 20-Nov 12]

Billed as “the controversial early paintings of Vancouver artist David Mayrs,” After That All Hell Broke Loose includes the paintings by Vancouver artist David Mayrs that drew the attention of Vancouver police and led to a court case in the mid-1960s.

As Michael Turner notes in a brilliant essay accompanying the exhibition, artwork and film producers of the 1960s had begun to question male privilege and introduce “a new and emergent female subject, one more complex and ultimately more powerful than her 1950s predecessor.” In a manner similar to de Kooning’s “Woman” series, or the less painterly but still disturbing female imagery of Francis Bacon, David Mayrs’s satirical and provocative paintings addressed sexuality and social discourse as well as a new act of painting: virulent, violent (and even voluptuous) Abstract Expressionism.

As with his contemporaries Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles and Andy Warhol in New York, Mayrs came from an advertising background where the role of sex was beginning to be explored. The lengths to which Mayrs took sexual expression in his paintings, however, was unprecedented. For the most part it remained in local art unmatched for another 20 years, when Attila Richard Lukacs showed his homoerotic nudes.

Vancouver artists during that period included Ron Stonier, Joan Balzar, Audrey Capel-Doray, Paul Wong, Roy Kiyooka and Geoff Rees. The Trench Gallery provides a rare opportunity to witness artwork reflecting the deep social changes of the period.

www.trenchgallery.com

Mia Johnson


 Sun, Nov 6, 2011