By Mary Tinti
Rhode Island Artist Greg Stones is a frequent participant in the arts festivals (like SoWa Sundays in Boston's South End) that pop up across New England all summer long and his quirky, hilarious prints and watercolors have been a favorite of mine for quite some time.
Stones’ sublime, sparse, Hopper-esque landscapes are populated by flying saucers (I want to believe!), penguins (who doesn’t love penguins?) and clean-cut, dapperly suited zombies (who often dislike things like technology, clowns, and hippies). So popular are his zombie paintings, in fact, that Stones created a book titled Zombies Hate Stuff (published by Chronicle Books), filled with pristinely rendered images detailing all the random things he imagines zombies would disdain.
Yes, his artworks are a witty nod to the many zombie fans among us, but they also suggest an important lesson about not letting ourselves get bogged down by the mundane chores of life.
Here’s what I mean:
Zombies are everywhere right now (I use my own obsession with such television shows as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, as well as my husband’s “I heart zombies” t-shirt as evidence). A few years back, Chuck Klosterman wrote a piece for the New York Times titled, “My Zombie, Myself: Why Modern Life Feels Rather Undead,” in which he offered an astute commentary on the proliferation of zombies in twenty-first century culture. At one point, Klosterman notes, “Every zombie war is a war of attrition….In other words, zombie killing is philosophically similar to reading and deleting 400 work e-mails on a Monday morning or filling out paperwork that only generates more paperwork…or performing tedious tasks in which the only true risk is being consumed by the avalanche.”
With that framework in place, Greg Stones’ paintings of the undead can be read not merely as timely pop culture references, but more importantly as clever visual reminders that we all have our zombies. There will always be an onslaught of work waiting just around the corner, always a few emails begging to be read, so why not step away from the computer, get out of the office, and take a few days to soak in the sunshine this summer? And while you’re at it, check out Greg Stones and his aliens, penguins, and zombies at an art festival near you.
SoWa Sundays: New England's Largest Outdoor Bazaar
460 and 500 Harrison Avenue
Boston, MA 02118
Greg Stones, Zombies Hate Technology. Photo courtesy of the artist.
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Mary is a Koch Curatorial Fellow at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. On her blog, Dress For Sports, she says, "I love innovative public art, creative design, and unique intersections of architecture, sculpture, and installation. And I love stumbling upon cool collisions of art and everyday life." Mary has a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University.