Pop Art and the Look of Liberation Exhibit Reflects an Unrestricted Movement

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Byline: Ivette M. Yee, Times-Union staff writer

You don't have to drive a little silver wheelbarrow or pass GO to appreciate Monopoly. Not when the top-hatted tycoon stares at you from the canvas.

The Monopoly millionaire, Speed Racer and other pop culture favorites are depicted in a new art exhibit: "The Consuming Image: New Painterly Pop" at the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art.

The pop art exhibit opened last night and runs through May 3. It features the works of Alisa Henriquez of Michigan, Seattle's James Mahoney, Chicago's Chris Peldo, Michael Thrush of Savannah, Ga., and Florida artists David Williams and Ales Bask Hospomsky.

Though the artists indulge in traditional pop art themes, JMOMA's curator George Kinghorn said they add depth to their works and to the genre.

"The main idea behind the show was to find artists who were using the vocabulary of pop art and doing it in a more expressive way, in terms of the way they use paint."

The painters' brushstrokes are prominent in each of the works, as are rich, saturated colors and warm tones. All the works are an experiment in collaboration, the joining of fabrics and paints, caricatures and textures, brand logos and found objects, a la Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

Thick paints and drippy speckles of color are also common in the works, no doubt a nod to the great Jackson Pollock.

"In contrast to traditional pop art, where you really didn't see the artistic touch -- the works had a more smoothed-over quality to them -- here you see the series of steps the artist took. You see their hand in the paint," Kinghorn said.

The pop art movement began in the late 1950s, when artists exuded a self-confidence and a desire to break out from under the European influence. Pop art was a rebellion against accepted style. …