The noise and splash of water from diving into a Californian swimming pool was caught at a moment in time by David Hockney in “A Bigger Splash” painted in 1967 and now in the Tate Gallery, London. In contrast, the French artist Zevs has taken the same Californian swimming pool but the clean white splash is replaced with a sticky dark fluid that slowly runs down into the water, turning it from clear blue to dirty black, as it does also with a whirlpool bath.
In “The Big Oil Splash”, Zevs (born 1977 and otherwise known as Aguirre Schwarz), attacks globalisation, commercialisation and the brands of the major oil companies as they have sought to achieve global domination particularly in places such as California with its appetite for cheap energy to maintain a way of life with freeways full of cars and air-conditioned offices, hotels, cultural facilities and homes, sometimes with disastrous environmental results as with BP in the Gulf of Mexico and where, in an economic climate with an ongoing low price of oil and the development of new sustainable energy sources, the distorted logos suggest that the future of these companies themselves may be wobbly.
“Ecology is at the heart of this new work. But it was paint, not politics. The work of man on earth extends here in a work of painting on canvas.” (Zevs)
Commenting also on the culture of beauty that is also encouraged by advertising, films and media and by clothing, cosmetic and health companies, a sunbed sits in a darkened room with monotone squares on the wall, the hidden images of which come to light with the UV radiation when the sunbed is switched on, only to die again when it turns off. Continual effort is encouraged to maintain beauty in the modern world; otherwise it may be short-lived.
Zevs, brings these examples of his ‘liquidation’ technique to Lazarides Rathbone as he makes his commentary on major brands and businesses in the modern consumer-driven culture.