Free Booze and Road Trip Culture: Alison Pebworth's Medicine Show-Inspired Art Exhibit Comes to Cannonball
For many of us, our shared American identity means football on Sundays, gas-guzzling SUVs, and unfettered capitalism. But what sits between our two shining seas offers a far more complex glimpse at the fabric of our culture.
Starting this Friday at Cannonball, San Francisco-based artist Alison Pebworth is showcasing her traveling-show inspired work Beautiful Possibility . Pebworth uses old-fashioned stylized fonts, vivid paintings and a sense of Americana/nostalgia to communicate the cultural experience of our country based on her travels across the states.
A painter by trade, over a decade ago Pebworth decided she wanted to delve into the world outside her studio.
"I was living this cloistered life, thinking about the social side of work without interacting with it. After a big show I started thinking, how do I start manifesting this life that I feel like I'm meant to be doing?"
She experimented with various concepts, and her project eventually evolved into a tent-show of sorts, where she would set herself up in various communities, neighborhoods, and cities to work on projects and interact with her surroundings.
"I love the road trip and weird America you can find out there. It's been just as important in shaping the America we are today as popular myths," Pebworth says.
"I'm fascinated by all aspects of the American traveling show. From the wild west show to the medicine show -- that I think is really foundational for who we are. When you look at contemporary America, TV is pretty much a medicine show. The ads are there to say what's wrong with you and offer a solution to feeling better. The TV shows keep you there so you can keep hearing these messages. It's the same format as the medicine show," she explains.