Jack Early was already an art star, hanging with the likes of Grace Jones, Richard Artschwager, and, oddly enough, Tim Gunn. Having already been a king of the edgy, hip, and cool, he returns to painting after a long break with work that evokes his Southern childhood.
In paintings and sculpture that might be characterized as “happy with shadows,” he glorifies the sugary pop shapes and colors that dance through children’s heads, while interjecting sudden and vital sexual imagery.
Early explains, “The guys are reminiscent of sneak peeks I took at the [YMCA]. A guy takes off his shirt and raises his arm, and you see his armpit hair and you’re 10. Or your babysitter has a Playgirl magazine in her bedroom and you tear out a page and smuggle it home and stare at it for a year. And you think about it while you stare at your wall.” Hence the background on many of the paintings is a re-creation of the wallpaper his mother let him pick for his room.