Zefrey Throwell, “DREAM BATTLES: The Pope vs. Pasolini (La battaglia per I’Italia)” (2014), silkscreen, acrylic, and enamel paint on fabric, 48 x 48 in (122 x 122 cm)

Garis & Hahn is pleased to present DREAM BATTLES, a series of new mixed-media paintings by Zefrey Throwell and the New York City–based artist’s first solo show with the gallery. From John Wayne to Joseph Goebbels, Throwell depicts duels between some of the most iconic and infamous symbols of the past century in his latest series of 20 silkscreen and acrylic paintings on fabric. He co-opts the spectacle of the prizefight by pitting opponents of ideological extremes against each other — philosophical battles that examine the underpinnings of modern society.

Conceived after Throwell’s recent visit to Auschwitz/Birkenau, the DREAM BATTLES series came about as a remedy to the artist’s crisis of faith in humanity after witnessing the indescribable horror and sinister history of the Holocaust. Especially unnerving for him was the idea that, while the Nazis were defeated, their violent and domineering tactics can still be found in a new, more clandestine modern fascism.

Inspired by the penetrating humor and iconoclastic chaos of Woody Allen movies, Throwell depicts unconventional pairings that resonate with a deeper conflict, such as “Oscar Wilde vs. John Wayne,” “Woody Allen vs. The Nazis: Annie Hall – Himmler,” and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show vs. Goldman Sachs.” The outcomes of the fights are based on qualifiers such as: What is this person/thing/movement known for? What did they actually do? Did they enlighten or diminish human compassion and understanding? Were they honestly funny?

Throwell is engaged in a battle for hearts and minds, subverting the ‘necessary evils’ and good intentions that pave the path to hell with an alternative strategy utilizing wit, humor, and aesthetics to deflect the violence, small-mindedness, and insecurity of contemporary fascism.

DREAM BATTLES opens February 28 with an artist’s reception from 6 to 8pm and continues through March 29 at Garis & Hahn (263 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan).

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