KEHOE AND GOSCH ARE BREAKING BAD
The so-called “bad painting” movement, as championed and celebrated by alternative art publications such as Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz, certainly has less adherents in the often aesthetically conservative galleries of southeastern New England, especially outside of hotspots such as Providence, Pawtucket and New Bedford. However, in the small, pastoral border town of Tiverton, Rhode Island, the Van Vessem Gallery is exhibiting the works of Marc Kehoe and Dan Gosch, two extraordinary practitioners of the genre who are both alum of the Rhode Island School of Design.
Kehoe’s work is a knowing and sly “wink-wink, nod-nod” elevation of kitschy subject matter and painting styles to something more cerebral and challenging. Taking influence from thrift store finds, trashy romance novel covers and mild, old-school erotica, he twists the viewer’s expectations with subtle humor, unusual juxtapositions and unconventional approaches to composition and color choice.”
In his “Mural Maquette 4,” one half of a diptych is devoted to a lip-locked couple in a clichéd moment of passion, right out of the beach scene in “From Here to Eternity.” The passionate pair is situated on a formless, dirty lavender background. The other half of the two-paneled painting depicts crudely rendered ice floes upon a solid sea. The sky is snot green, dispelling any notion of romance.