Last Thursday night, March 17, Parisian Galerie Catherine Houard presented the opening of Dean Tavoularis’ exhibit, Le Magicien d’Hollywood. The exhibit features the works of the famous Hollywood production designer, who is praised for his work in creating the settings for fims such as Apocalypse Now, The Godfather, The Godfather II, Bonnie and Clyde, and also the latest film from Roman Polanski, God of Carnage.
Although best known as an artistic director in film production, Tavoularis presented drawings, paintings, and storyboards for the first time in Paris. Tavoularis says of his work in both mediums, “I love my life of painting and the materials I work with. I do not let myself think too much. I am not an intuitive painter, rather I try to balance these things in my head: past, people, friends, my work, the food, women, cities…Everything converges in my head and finds a place in my paintings. Then I think of the films I have worked with, and another question emerges: What is the link between my artistic conception of films and my paintings?”
Tavoularis’s influence from film is logical from his over 40 year career in the industry and also from his childhood growing up in Los Angeles. His work combines film stills, photography, painting and drawing into dynamic collages and montages that go beyond expression of what the camera will allow.
The selection of works was highly varied, with some coming directly from the set designs of his productions, such as the helicopters and characters from Apocalypse Now, to creatively kitsch renditions of Hollywood icons such as Marilyn Monroe and Mickey Mouse. Juxtapositions of death and hotdogs gave a surreal direction to the Hollywood inspired works. Many seemed to have taken inspiration from some of the great modern artists, with fleeting glimpses of Gauguin, Picasso and Warhol in the technique and presentation, yet despite the inspirations, the subject matter remained entirely Tavoularis, as the viewer caught moments of great Hollywood scenarios with emotive strokes of color and beautifully rendered drawings.