Susan Calloway Fine Arts Presents Mark Giaimo Between Rock and a Hard Place

By Editorial Team on October 15, 2018

Fri, 19 October 2018 - Sat, 24 November 2018

Cock and Ball Story, Mark Giaimo, Oil on Linen 24 x 34. Courtesy of Susan Calloway Fine Arts.
Reception: Friday, October 19 from 5pm to 7pm

In his second show at Susan Calloway Fine Arts, Mark Giaimo bridges the distance between his passion for playing music and painting through a series of “Rock and Roll” oil paintings. Mark’s works take us behind the scenes and present a more intimate view of the raucous and rowdy lives of rock musicians. The title, Between Rock and a Hard Place, alludes to the artist’s struggle to build a career in the music, and his eventual shift towards painting. While the series serves as a reconciliation between the two.

Accompanying the various still lifes, genre scenes, and portraits are a curated selection of photographic portraits of musicians. Courtesy of Chris Murray, Director of Govinda Gallery.

“Paintings, like good music, are an art form that one can return to repeatedly. For me they often play into one another. I’ll take a break from my art, pick up the guitar and out comes a riff or the beginning of a song. I chase that for a little while and then return to the painting. It goes back and forth like that through most of the process.

For 30-odd years I fronted several alt/indie rock bands, with varying degrees of success (or failure depending on my outlook). When I finally threw in the towel in 2010 and devoted myself to painting I tried to keep as much distance as possible from music as a subject and it’s taken me awhile to circle back to it with a little more equanimity.

The still life paintings are meditations of my love of the electric guitar as an aesthetic object which also conjures up all sorts of memories and feelings. The narrative paintings are a wry reflection on my life as a musician. Drawing inspiration from the Golden Age of American Illustration (roughly 1880-1930) as well as contemporary classical realists and Old Masters, these works are an attempt to make some sense out of my past with what I hope is a universality that you can relate to.” – Mark Giaimo

A former political cartoonist, illustrator and songwriter/musician, Mark Giaimo enrolled in his first oil painting class in 2004. Within two years he was accepted into the Post-Baccalaureate Graduate Program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, where he finished a semester before striking out on his own.

His still life paintings of cheap plastic toys and autobiographical narratives, combine the mundane with the sacred, 19th century painting techniques with contemporary pulp and graphic illustration, that are both an homage and satire to the past and present.

Gallery Hours:

  • Tuesday through Saturday: 10am to 6pm

Susan Calloway Fine Arts is located at 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW.