Friday, March 30, 2007
Surf in Art: Margaret Kilgallen
I first saw Margaret Kilgallen's work at a show she had with her husband, Barry McGee, at UCLA's Hammer Museum in 2000. I wasn't a surfer at the time, but I was still so enchanted by her world of women on rockerless longboards, palm trees, beautiful burnt colors applied directly on the walls, huge hand painted script. I was living in the Mission in SF at the time, and I recognized many her influences - the sign paintings, the graffiti, the Mexican murals - but the surf imagery was foreign. I had no idea there was a surf scene in the Bay Area, let alone artists who celebrated it.
A few years later, when I looked her up again, I was devastated to find out that she had succumbed to a battle with breast cancer. This was right after my wife was diagnosed with the disease, and I was becoming keenly aware of how uneducated America is about breast cancer, especially among young women. It broke my heart even more to find out she had a child, Asha, only a few weeks before she passed away.
I'm blown away by how much Margaret accomplished in her short life. Her work and Barry's will always resonate with me, not only because of their incredible aesthetic beauty, but with added subcontext of our shared experiences.
Tommy Guerrero - Thank You MK