Comics and cartoons are one of the first forms of visual art that children are exposed to, and are created specifically for them. That exposure holds lasting connections that often stay with people over the course of their lives. The increased popularity among children and adults alike of superhero movies, collectable toys, and clothes featuring popular comic characters only illustrates this notion. Pulp Art: Out of the gutter and on the walls is an exhibition that explores this enduring influence among select fine artists who show their work in galleries across the United States.
“Pulp” refers to cheaply produced magazines made from low-grade newsprint. The term comes from the wood pulp that was used in the paper manufacturing process. Comic books historically were produced on this pulp newsprint because of the cheap, throw-away nature that comics were viewed as, not the highly valued collection items of comic books now, much less the original fine art being produced under the influence of comics today.
The “gutter” is the space between the panels of comics. Though physical space that it occupies may be quite small, it is none the less of huge importance as it is where your mind fills in the blanks of the story as it transitions from one panel to the next. It is the space where the viewer takes an active part in the creation and interpretation of the story. The gutter spaces between the borders of comics provide a similar function as the blank spaces of gallery walls that allow viewers to pause and contemplate the information that the artist has provided, as well as information the artist has purposely left out or only implied.