Gumby, Sense of Form…

Raymond Pettibon
Gumby, Sense of Form…
Ink on Paper, 1990
14 x 10 inches
From the Stuart and Judy Spence Collection, donated April 1999 by Judy and Stuart Spence

In a 2009 interview, Raymond Pettibon comments on his use of pop-culture icons, such as surfers, baseball players, and even the cartoon character Gumby. “There’s a reason why Gumby in particular works so well for me,” he says. “It does relate to the way I make work, which has a lot to do with words and reading in particular. Gumby is a kind of metaphor for how I work. He actually goes into the book, into a biography or historical book, and interacts with real figures from the past and he becomes part of it, and I tend to do that in my work. That’s why Gumby is a particularly important figure to me.”

Pettibon also mentions that he uses characters, such as Gumby, to represent the artist—a substitute for his own self-portrait within his images and text. This suggests that Pettibon’s works are both a personal and revealing expression of his own life and experience.