RAT FINK! / Curated by Laura Allred Hurtado
May 30 - Septemper 18, 2015
The collective work of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth is individual in spirit and rebellious in nature—a tongue and cheek mockery of “normal.” Parenthetical to the pristine California pop culture of Disneyland, his work is a rejection of the ubiquitous assembly line mass-produced Fordist machines and the lifestyle that accompanied it.
Roth is singular.
Header image: Love Chevey and Operation Desert Storm, Courtesy Jeff Decker/Hippodrome Studio
Stylistically, Roth’s many creations have been compared to art historical styles such as Baroque, in its theatricality, Surrealism, in its interest in the absurd, Dadaism, in its rejection of the establishment, Cubism, in its reshaping of the object, and Pop in its embrace of the lowbrow everyday.
For his part, Roth felt these references were “flattering but way off the mark.” Such terms pay homage to the art world and are central to its oft-perceived pompous conversation; and wary of pretense, Roth continually attempted to sidestep them. Though sidestepping was not a rejection of the notion of artist. Like the cartoonist Basil Wolverton, who influenced him, Roth was a social satirist, cynical and humorous. If one were to compare him with a writer it would be Charles Bukowski, the poet laureate of L.A. lowlife.
Roth’s unique style absolutely is a product of California, especially the highways of L.A., and emerges out of a passionate and creative love of the car. His palette is garish, mutli-colored, all over the place, rude. As described by CJ Stecyke, he is a “sub-species that manifests itself through street theatre,” an ever creative, deconstructive, hand-made Kustom Kulture.
About the Curator
Laura Allred Hurtado currently works as the Global Acquisitions Art Curator for the LDS Church History Museum and as an art critic for Utah's 15 Bytes. Most recently, she published an article in the book Utah's 15: The State's Most Influential Artists on the artist Anna Campbell Bliss, presented research on the Turkish artist Canan Şenol at the College Art Association and curated two exhibitions which opened in February and March repectively: Practicing Charity: Everyday Daughters of God at the Church History Museum and Partial and Plural: Tracing the Intergenerational Self at the Rio Grande Gallery. She has previously worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Brigham Young University Museum of Art, and as the acting curator of education at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art.
This exhibition was made possible by generous loans from Stan Wanlass, Jeff Decker, Ilene Roth, and the Rat Fink Collection. Additional financial support was provided by the Sam and Diane Stewart Foundation and Hippodrome Studios.