The Tea Party’s Favorite Painter
Have you ever flipped through cable channels while impaired, lingering on some freakishly weird Lawrence Welk Show dance moves for a few seconds of guilty pleasure? Looking at the works of right-wing Utah painter Jon McNaughton is kind of like that.
If you haven’t exposed yourself to the visual splendor of his überpatriotic art, you’re so missing out.
Stylistically, McNaughton cranks out the kind of representational schlock a Days Inn manager circa 1975 would have been too embarrassed to hang in one of his guest rooms. He makes Thomas Kinkade look like Damien Hirst.
During his studies at Brigham Young University, McNaughton quit the art department—griping about its “less appealing emphasis of modern art.”
Of course he did.
“I like to use metaphor and multiple levels of meaning to reach my viewer,” McNaughton explains, clearly not understanding the meaning of “metaphor.”
Robert Motherwell’s Elegy to the Spanish Republic would count as a metaphor, for instance, depicting a bull’s genitals to mock the male banality of warfare and Franco’s fascism.
But connecting those dots actually requires a few seconds of thought, and McNaughton will expose his Tea Party fans to no such mental duress.
Instead—BAM!—we have Obama stomping on the Constitution, with George Washington going “what the FUCK, dude?!”
I’ll pause here while you process through all that visual subtext. Hang in there, it’s subtle, but after a few minutes of googling and meditating upon 18th Century U.S. history, the deeper “meaning” will reveal itself to you.
Though some day McNaughton’s art may feature the finesse of a preschooler’s Crayon stick figure of mommy crying, we’re not quite there yet and will have to settle for the bad depictions of his least favorite TV personalities in Liberalism Is A Disease. But come on, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
The next time you’re battling insomnia I recommend trolling his Facebook page. The folks at Democratic Underground suggested McNaughton’s imagery contains a strong undercurrent of racism. It’s unclear why they’d suggest this, other than the fact that his imagery contains a strong undercurrent of racism.
McNaughton is the kind of guy who think the metaphorical slavery, as he sees it, of paying one’s taxes is far more offensive than the actual slavery in our nation’s history.
But it’s cool. “My black friends don’t think I’m a racist!” he protests in defense.
Yes. He actually went “I have black friends” on us.