Chicago’s Front Forty Press debuts its new artist-profile series of affordable paperback books with the work of Mark McGinnis, an American artist and designer whose work has appeared in Business Week, The New York Times and in solo shows in Chicago and Los Angeles. McGinnis combines printmaking with drawing and graphic design to create an iconography that satirizes and distorts current political and social issues. There’s an image of a globe stuffed inside an oven; the silhouette of a man pouring machine guns from a gas can; an illustration of the trunks of two Republican elephants twisting into the heads of the snakes in the Caduceus; an image of a jack-in-the-box toy, and in the place of the clown, a bomb. While the images are uncluttered and simplistic (most are black-and-white, or employ few colors), the social commentary is conspicuous and multilayered, often digging at several raw issues simultaneously.
Each book in Front Forty Press’ series will include an interview with the artist by art critic Victor Cassidy. “The Front Forty books are [founder] Doug Fogelson’s labor of love,” Cassidy says. “Since many of his ideas and interests are not those of the general population, the books sell to a small readership.” It also includes an essay by art historian Carlo Vinti, who will examine and discuss every aspect of the artist, including their life, technique, inspiration and personal social and political interests. The books also serve to round out the reader’s comprehension of the art, and complement the masterful works sandwiched in the pages. Front Forty Press’ “Profiles Series, Issue No. 1: Mark McGinnis,” is available at front40press.com. (Naomi Huffman)