The Rupture is coming

“The Collectors” by Mark Bryan, oil on canvas on found art, 201<b>1</b>.

“The Collectors” by Mark Bryan, oil on canvas on found art, 2011.

Where: James Kaneko Gallery at American River College, 4700 College Oak Drive; (916) 484-8399. Hours: Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Opening reception: Monday, November 14, noon. Through December 6.

For decades, Mark Bryan has been making light of the heavy topics of politics and religion with his satirical paintings. One of his greatest hits featured a church-shaped tank with smoking barrel in 2005’s “The Church of Atomic Purification.” And his new work continues with those themes, like 2011’s “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”

His exhibition this month at James Kaneko Gallery, The Rupture, is a take on the Rapture, where people’s bodies are lifted into the heavens. As Bryan describes it, some bodies are “ripped to pieces tearing through their roofs; those outdoors will rocket skyward, depressurizing in the upper stratosphere and explode like a deep sea fish hauled to the surface too fast.” Bryan’s creative and engaging storytelling is matched with his technical painting skill in this series, which is reminiscent of the horror in fairy tales. In this rupturing world, “buildings will fall upwards” and “clumps of dirt will become turkey dinners.” The story he creates may sound outrageous, but, of course, it’s a reflection of the story we humans are living. Let’s hope there’s a happy ending in ours.