Intimate Strokes

Survey of Mark Gash's Paintings Curated by Johanna Went

Notorious for its art, film, and music, Los Angeles has been a cultural hub for some of the most visionary artists of our time. No era has been more widely regarded and loved in Los Angeles than the 1980s, a decade that made way for new works breaking away from the institution and home to a time in music that would give rise to the American conception of punk. Fearless participant Mark Gash captured this era through his surrealist, bold brush strokes on canvas, painting the women who inspired and captivated both himself and the surrounding world.

Intimate Strokes is a survey of Gash’s work curated by longtime friend, collector, and performance artist Johanna Went. Women punk rockers, singers, songwriters, models, actresses, artists, hardcore fans all reveled in the chance to sit for and spend time with Gash, a man who balanced the dichotomy between his macho audacity and the challenges of his poignantly fragile corporeal destiny with wit, charm, and grace.

Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Gash surpassed his doctor’s, family’s, and stereotyped expectations in countless ways. In 1979 he attended North Texas State University to receive his BFA, moving to Los Angeles to pursue his MFA at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Los Angeles would be the defining city for Gash, yielding opportunities to paint, exhibit, and continue learning while, despite being relegated to a wheelchair, fearlessly and charismatically becoming an avid figure in the 1980s punk scene. Iconic and beloved, Gash pushed the boundaries of his personal expectations, putting brush to canvas, creating surreal, bold, and hauntingly beautiful portraits of the women and era that he loved so much.

Portraits in Intimate Strokes include models, muses, and iconic women during a tumultuous decade in Los Angeles. Donita Sparks (L7), Texacali Jones (Tex & the Horseheads), Magie Song (the Fibonaccis), Meri St. Mary (Meri Housecoat), and more unidentified, entrancing women sat for Gash, each with their own tender stories of time spent with him.

Intimate Strokes will be on view at Coagula Curatorial from July 9 through August 21, 2016. Curator Johanna Went will give a curator talk at 2:00pm alongside artist talks at Good Luck Gallery and Gregorio Escalante Gallery.

Opening Reception
Saturday, July 9, 2016 | 7-11pm
Coagula Curatorial
974 Chung King Road, Los Angeles, CA