Dressed in Hollywood Tears

Dressed in Hollywood Tears,
November 9, 2023–December 23, 2023
The Breeder, Athens

The Breeder is pleased to announce Dressed in Hollywood Tears, an exhibition of new works by LA based artist, Justin John Greene. This is the artist’s first solo show in Athens. Greene’s iconography consists of familiar yet uncanny characters who merge the illusionary with the realistic, presenting tragicomic narratives in a most ambiguous and intimate way.

For his show at The Breeder, the artist creates a new series of paintings along with drawings and a sculpture, all inspired by Greene’s personal experience of loss enmeshed with the scenography of his native Los Angeles surroundings. Dressed in Hollywood Tears, takes its title from a song lyric written by the artist’s late father, a rock musician and recording artist, whose death became the starting point of the unravelling of a personal as well as communal narrative.

In many of the works on view, Greene uses the motif of a broken wall. Symbolizing a rupture between the world colored by his father’s presence, depicted as an almost mythical realm populated with archetypes and figures from his life, contrasted, on the other side of the wall, against a drabber and soberer view of his own daily surroundings, such as his apartment building or a freeway exit.

Greene’s approach towards oil painting makes use of the medium’s pictorial and emotional malleability, skillfully shifting from fast expressive brush strokes to illustrative details. His works are rich in stylistic diversity, evoking various emotions and cultural references through the different elements that compose his intricate compositions.

Influenced by Max Beckmann’s post expressionistic imagery and Jörg Immendorff’s large scale syntheses, Greene creates a surreal, sometimes dystopic ambience, filled with cartoon-like characters, aggressive colors, grotesque forms, muses and demons, enigmatic personas and an imposing executive. The music industry and in particular the former art design group Hipgnosis, that specialized in creating album cover artwork for rock bands, such as the Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and many more is also a major influence enriching this exhibition with dashes of ironic, humorous and bizarre representations.

A red Pegasus, based on a graphic used by the Mobil gas station company, appears in many forms throughout the show. Its use attempts to compound the mythical creatures’ majestic attributes with both the compelling allure of classic car culture and the pitfalls of nostalgically romanticizing the late 20th century. Along with his father’s passing, Greene revisits his memoirs of a rather romantic, idealistic era that is dramatically crumbling away, like the loss of a nation with all of its culture and infrastructure. The artworks in Dressed in Hollywood Tears, express a desire to use mythology as a way of narrating a personal experience of loss with a dramatic and tragic tone that feels more truthful than the reality.