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8/6/2012 9:03:00 AM
R.V. Lovelace now showing at Jerome Artists Coopertive Gallery
Signs & Wonders 2012
The art of R.V. Lovelace is inspired by many sources.
The art of R.V. Lovelace is inspired by many sources.

R.V. Lovelace doesn't believe that the world will end in 2012.

"It is the Year of the Dragon and I was born in the Year of the Dragon," he explains. The strength he feels exists inherently. "It's biblical. There's something in Revelations. Some biblical reference to end of times. The reason that I'm doing this show is because I'm not in agreement with people who say the Mayan Calendar predicts the end of the world.

"Don't believe in the age of fear."

Lovelace's current featured artist show at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery, "Signs and Wonders 2012," is a surreal cross-cultural mash-up of Asian, Native American and pop cultures.

"Signs, dreams, experiences and visions I've had," the artist explains the symbolism, both spiritual and surreal as well as mundane day to day symbols such as highway road signs, "Signs of all kinds."

Arriving in Jerome was a sign, "It was a sign. I came here and I felt I'd been here before." A psychic aunt told him he'd had a past life in Jerome, living there before as a merchant.

Raised in Santa Clara, Calif., Lovelace is a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute and owned his own screen printing business in Oakland prior to his permanent arrival in Jerome in 1991. A founding member of the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery since its inception in 1996, Lovelace has work in collections nationwide, including the home of Maria Elena Holly, Buddy Holly's widow in Texas.

Inspired by film noir, surrealism, Mid-Century Modern, Populuxe and Googie styles, primitive art and mythology, petroglyphs and pictographs, roadside signs and science fiction, Lovelace says "I'm a blender. I find things in different cultures that relate and I blend them together. Hopi, Navajo, Asian, American pop culture."

The artist's dreamlike images, created with airbrush, water-based pigments, mixed media and colored pencil convey an intensity, an electricity, a kinetic energy. His "Retro-Vision Lexicon," as he calls it (matching his initials, R.V.L.), is enigmatic storytelling, "It is a magical invention of mysterious suggestion, " he says, "The stream of consciousness is filled with the flotsam and jetsam of dreams and everyday events."

In keeping with the Year of the Dragon inspiration, Lovelace's customary mash-up of the past, present and future is blended with mystical Asian motifs, including dragons, symbols of luck and elements from Chinese "joss paper." Joss paper is gift-wrap for the dead, covered with pictures of jewelry, automobiles, cars, candy, appliances. The paper is an offering, burnt to share the symbolic gifts with the spirit world. Growing up near San Francisco's famous Chinatown, Lovelace says, "I was always trying to talk my dad into taking me there. Mostly to buy fireworks."

Science fiction is always a topic of interest to the artist, who enjoys creature features from his large library of mid-century monster movies. As a child of the 1950s and '60s "Atomic Age", sci-fi themes frequent his art. "There will be some monsters in the show," says Lovelace, "To me it's always been about xenophobia. Fear of the unknown, that's what monsters represent. I didn't want to know the everyday activities. I wanted to know about the other side. The unknown. Abstract expressionism practically frightened me! But I loved it!"

"Signs and Wonders 2012" runs through Oct. 4. The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily, at 502 Main St. in the old Hotel Jerome building. For more information call (928) 639-4276, or visit www.jeromecoop.com.


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