MMA Goes High Art in New Gallery Exhibition

Art galleries don’t usually draw the TapouT-clad juicehead crowd — but thanks to an upcoming exhibition at the Peter Blake Gallery in Laguna Beach, that’s about to change. From May 6-29, painter Jorg Dubin will be showing nine of his MMA-themed works at the space, which feature such MMA legends as Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, Brock Lesnar, and Fedor Emelianenko. Cage-fighters and naked chicks, huh? Sounds like something we can get behind. (Even if the one with Keith Jardine and the redheaded Mariska Hargitay-lookalike gives us the creeps for some reason.) But there’s deep meaning behind these bizarre and unique works. From the press release:

“Dedicated MMA fans will recognize many of the subjects of the paintings. However, Dubin does not seek to merely record or portray the personalities of the sport. These paintings explore the entire scope of the MMA cultural phenomena – the mindset of the fans, the psychology of the combatants and the vibrant spectacle of the competition. MMA fights present the basest form of conflict – dominance and submission. Dubin depicts this conflict through the juxtaposition of the brute fighter and the demure female form. In MMA, to “submit” is akin to giving up, to saying “uncle”, to lose. However, as a metaphor for human existence, one “submits” to life’s challenges and yet does not succumb. One overcomes.

To overcome and withstand pain while inflicting pain on an opponent is the fighter’s challenge. The ultimate goal of the fighter is to force submission. As humans, we rest on a history of conflict. We cherish victory. To force our hand on our opponent. To be superior both mentally and physically. Yet, in the course of our lives, there are times when we must also “submit” to our struggles, our emotions and to others. Through submission we gain perseverance. Through submission we understand the resilience of the human spirit, a resilience that is more meaningful than any short-lived victory in or out of the ring.”

Asking prices for the oil-on-linen paintings aren’t listed on the gallery website yet, though Dubin’s previous portraiture has generally sold in the $12,000-$15,000 range. The show kicks off with a reception on May 6th from 6 to 9 p.m. Anybody want to head out there next month and place a bid for us?