As a child, James Perez was exposed to an extremist religious cult known as The Children of God (C.O.G.) where he experienced radical expression of organized Christianity in its most bohemian form.  Documented in the book Heaven’s Harlots: My Fifteen Years in a Sex Cult, C.O.G. encouraged prostitution of its female members to raise money for the cult and as a means of finding lost souls with which to share the Word of God.  Like some modern Christian cults today, C.O.G. also believed in alien foundations for humanity.  Under intense scrutiny in the 1980s for its leadership under Moses David, the group was reformed and became known as The Family, which still exists today.  Child survivors of the cult have established forums for expression and communal outcry against the psychological and sexual abuses they sustained under the watchful eye of this Christian sect, often sadly ending in murder and suicide.  Exposure to this communal religious group from an early age predisposed James to a hardened view of the dangers and psychological damage that organized religion can inflict.  James’ art is for him, personally, a way of reminding himself that the messages we receive through organized religion are the design of man, and that they are set apart from belief or disbelief in God.

James' recent work focuses on contradictions in spiritual existence, how our relationship with organized religion fits with human sexuality, social drug abuse, the evil acts of man, and our place as a life form in the universe.  Handled separately, these subjects have benign and factual qualities that we compartmentalize.  When handled together on one canvas, these subjects become increasingly uncomfortable, creating a confusing mixture of emotion more closely imitating the way we feel in the experience of human life.  His paintings ask what we can accept about how our need for an organized explanation of existence clashes with the way we experience life, and ultimately whether we are able to accept the existence of each other.  He uses surrealism and fantasy to create images that are widely interpreted, but which always are ultimately deeply personal to the patrons they speak to. 

"My art is designed to move you.  Whether it moves you to the right or to the left, if it moved you I did my job." -James Perez

 

Contact Me:  832.651.1188