Mark Beyer: With/Without Text

Exhibition Date: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - Saturday, February 23, 2013

Gallery Talk and Reception
Thursday  | January 10 | 5 to 8pm

With/Without Text is the first in-depth retrospective of the work of comic artist Mark Beyer. It is, in fact, the first major exhibition of Beyer's work ever to be held in the United States. This broad collection features more than 70 of Beyer's original works, including comic strips, silkscreens, paintings in reverse created on glass paperweights, as well as sheets of plexiglass and original commissioned artwork for concert posters and record and magazine covers. A series of MTV animated shorts will also be on view, along with many other posters, prints, mini comics, books and ephemera.

Contemporaries and longtime supporters, Art Spiegelman (Pulitzer Prize winner and recent artist in residence at the Wexner Center) and his wife, Francoise Mouly (art director at The New Yorker) featured Beyer's work in all but two issues of their legendary comics anthology, RAW Magazine (1980-1991). Through RAW and later through newspapers in New York and Los Angeles (1988-1996), Beyer became well known for his reoccurring comic strip surrounding the life of his two brooding main characters, "Amy and Jordan." Beyer's primitive, geometric, German expressionist-inspired style illustrates the cynical couple's lives of urban despair and their interactions with otherworldly creatures and forces.

Beyer's work continually toes the line between drastically different emotional spaces. His dark yet playful drawing style perfectly supports his sense of humor and colors hauntingly surreal landscapes with a certain lightness and innocence. With the recent renewal of interest in comic art and the seemingly ever-present question of whether cartoons qualify as true "art," the depth of Beyer's inquiry and the breadth of his work from comics to paintings—whether with or without text—demonstrate Beyer's command both as an artist and a cartoonist.

Curated by Thomas Arlen Wagner.

Read about Mark Beyer in an article recently featured in Art Review Magazine— written by London-based journalist, curator, broadcaster Paul Gravett, who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for 20 years. (paulgravett.com)