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Christopher Pate, Eyes on Farrah 2012, acrylic, graphite, colored pencil, found poster, and collage on paper, 29-3/4 x 22 in.

I couldn’t help but share this image with you. I received it as part of an invitation to a three person exhibition entitled Drown Me in Pictures at a gallery in the Crenshaw District called Latned Atsär (yes, that’s Rasta Dental spelled backwards.) The show opens Saturday October 20th, 2012, 7-10pm. The three artists are Amir H. FallahAlexander Kroll and Christopher Pate – all painters whose work is wonderfully easygoing, yet intelligent and well-executed.

The collage, by Los Angeles art world fixture, artist, noted curator and (full disclosure) also my good friend, Christopher Pate, is especially compelling because it is so very familiar and so obviously politically fraught – and yet, above all – blithely joyous, painterly and just plain strange.

Farrah Fawcett’s life trajectory – from being an object of desire (and serious theatrical ambition) –  all the way to her eventual demise, demented and wasting from metastasized anal cancer – looms heavily in how one might view this piece about a life observed. The multiple eye imagery, suggests the scrutinizing male or public gaze – a politically loaded concept straight out of feminist theory. But wait…

The truly great thing about Pate’s handling of the imagery is that the overall attitude is undeniably cheerful, reveling in the chance to combine the images – as though the source poster and the over-scrutinization of celebrity and women in general simply don’t matter for the moment – or  at least shouldn’t stop a viewer, male or female, from indulging in a bit of queasy, nostalgic ogling.

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