Living and working in Southern California since the 1970s, surfing has featured greatly in Pettibon’s life. Yet the inclusion of surfing, a theme which occupies much of the artist’s creative output, goes beyond a personal obsession and has a deeper significance. The artist explains that "it can also be the way something like surfing describes a society, and the people in it. I’ve done a lot of large drawings and prints of that imagery. It has that epic nature, that sublime nature, that almost asks you to reproduce it full sized on the wall" (Raymond Pettibon in conversation with Dennis Cooper, in: Robert Storr, Raymond Pettibon, London 2001, p. 25). In the present work, the small thrill seeker riding the impressive wave depicts a scene of humanity facing the vastness of nature, a metaphor for the individual versus society. While Pettibon captures a moment of glory in all its beauty, it is inevitable that the surfer’s triumph is transitory, as fate hovers just beyond the frame and the eventual crash of the wave will engulf him.
Floating above and below the scene are colourful inscriptions in the artist’s iconic handwriting. This distinctive combination of text and image is emblematic of Pettibon’s style, as he often incorporates quotations borrowed from literature spanning centuries and other media, as well as his own writings. In the present lyrical drawing, a quote taken from the writings of the twentieth century Irish poet and novelist James Joyce can be found on the top right. This text refers to Robinson Crusoe, the character from Daniel Defoe’s eponymous novel and one of the most widely published historical fictions, a castaway who spent twenty-seven years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad. These words, alongside the other poetic material Pettibon has chosen to compound with his image, lend new voices to his subject and can shift the meaning, "Going with the flow", by adding a humoristic element to the work. This energetic and vividly painted scene, devoted to the vast force of nature itself, perfectly encapsulates the lyrical heart of Pettibon’s work.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale