SquareCylinder, David Roth
Excerpt from David Roth's review of Julia Couzens work at Sac State Library and our duo show at Jay Jay.
"John Yoyogi Fortes, a figurative/abstract painter whose inclinations lean toward street art, comics and the sort of appropriative methods that held sway in New York in the 1980s. His specialty is the urban fever dream, a non-narrative realm populated by comic characters, graffiti and racist caricatures of yore, all of which seemed designed to induce or evoke free-floating psychic pain. The forms laid down in layers, are hand-painted, stenciled and heavily abraded. In these works we can detect many influences: David Salle (contour drawing), Philip Guston (dunce caps, bricks), Robert Crumb (hairy legs), Jean Michel Basquiat and Raymond Saunders (handwritten text scrawls), and Enrique Chagoya (in foot-stomped skulls and blood fountains he used in his epic anti-colonialist paintings of the late 1980s and early 1990s). Somewhere in all of this there’s a social/political critique lurking, but what it might be is unclear. Like many of the lowbrow/street artists with whom Fortes also seems to be aligned, he avoids overt proscriptions or confrontations, preferring instead to juggle live ammunition and see what ignites."
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