Verne Dawson, Winsor McKay, 2015, oil on canvas, 85 × 75 3/4".

Verne Dawson

Galerie Eva Presenhuber

Verne Dawson, Winsor McKay, 2015, oil on canvas, 85 × 75 3/4".

Depicting such fantastical subjects as dinosaurs and even stranger hybrid creatures, as well as spaceship-like objects, the rather naive-looking paintings in Verne Dawson’s exhibition “Mermaid Money” at first seemed merely trite and self-indulgent. The exhibition’s title, however, hinted at what many of these works really are: searing commentaries on American consumer culture and its effects. One of the largest paintings in the show, Winsor McCay (all works cited, 2015) set the ball rolling. McCay, in case you’ve forgotten, was a cartoonist and animator whose images appealed to millions. His 1914 Gertie the Dinosaur is sometimes thought to be the United State’s first animated film. Enclosing Gertie’s image in its own painted-white passe-partout, Dawson “frames” this cherished emblem and then draws attention to the artificiality of the icon’s making by showing an artist in the

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