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Monday, September 16, 2013

Mark Beyer's "Agony" and our ecstasy!

In the 80's I grew up loving RAW Magazine and anything to do with it. One of their regular artists was Mark Beyer. He was a naive artist who took perverse pleasure in satirizing the hardships of life.


RAW Magazine came out with many solo works by their artists that they called One-Shots. Agony was Mark Beyer's RAW One Shot. In it he put his reoccurring characters, Amy and Jordan, two androgynous beings that look like a cross between a human and an amoeba, through their torturous paces for no other reason than because it is fun. The thing that makes Mark Beyer's work so fascinating is his imagination and sense of design. He does the most creative and interesting things on the page and he is not limited by normal esthetics or sense of anatomy. His characters live in a universe all their own with it's own laws of physics. It's awesome to see what new and interesting ways Beyer comes up with to depict the tortures of Amy and Jordan. Even though the subject matter that Mark Beyer writes about is dark I think there is a lot of life and joy in his work. Just look at all the love and care he put into each panel! And the book is 173 pages long! Personally I find this work totally stimulating and beautiful the way a Hieronymus Bosch painting is. You love to pour over all the incredible detail and marvel at the originality of all the crazy tortures he depicts just like in works like  The Garden of Earthly Delights or study the fascinating detail of this world you think you should know but can't quite make out the way you do an Yves Tanguy painting.
As primitive works of art I can totally see his work with it's amazing elaborate patterns in an American folk art museum or on a quilt. That's one quilt I'd love to have! I'd hang it on my living room wall.

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