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MMA Goes High Art in New Gallery Exhibition

(Images courtesy of

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?

Cagepotato Comments

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Criminally Negligent- April 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm
The stomachs got switched in Chuck's painting
kidfinesse- April 26, 2010 at 12:07 pm
Life seems to be imitating art on that Tito and Jenna painting. She looks pretty bloodied up
Kid Clam Curtains- April 26, 2010 at 12:06 pm
holy fuck those suck
Mr_Misanthropy- April 26, 2010 at 11:26 am
Yeah, but Boris Vallejo could actually paint.

Is it just me or is that Brock Lesnar's head on James Toney's body? He looks black as night, which I guess would make that race-tradin' ho at his feet his "snow-bunny".
robthom- April 26, 2010 at 11:02 am
Crystal meth IMO.
Horror Fighter- April 26, 2010 at 10:45 am
So will Monson show up at the gallery and ruin his portrait with spray paint? Anarchy!
k-onda- April 26, 2010 at 10:22 am
Oh, and shouldn't there be a little naked boy next to the priest?
k-onda- April 26, 2010 at 10:18 am
I'm here laughing, trying to think of some way to convey via keyboard the amount of laughing I'm doing and the posturing involved therein. I love juvenile bullshit as much as the next guy, but somebody seriously took the time to do this?
ctownhood- April 26, 2010 at 10:12 am
The easy part about doing a War Machine painting, is that he can use a still photo from one of WM's porn shoots
Stinkfurt- April 26, 2010 at 9:48 am
Since when the fuck is Brock Lesnar a MMA legend? If that's the case, I can't wait for the Toney exhibit.
Ratel- April 26, 2010 at 9:34 am
Use the hoity toity explanation of the metaphorical struggle of mankind to overcome by submitting, blah de blah all you want.

HOWEVER, the artist needs to be shot with a ball of his own shit for painting Tito Ortiz as a saint/halo-bearing personage affiliated with the canons of worship (see, I read books!)

Up until that point, I could accept this artwork as legit even if I passively didn't care for it. I still could if he repainted the Tito picture without the religious motif. I think it would be more fitting to have Tito's head and face substituted for that of the guy on the cover of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power cd cover. If you're not familiar, Google it.

That would make everything all right again.
cecils_pupils- April 26, 2010 at 9:28 am
I'm holding out for the War Machine painting... I'd like to request a spit bag too.
El Famous Burrito- April 26, 2010 at 9:02 am

I lol'd heartily.

The hard part is explaining to co-workers why.
Tai-Pan- April 26, 2010 at 8:43 am
I can't even draw proportionally correct stickmen, but these fucking lick balls. The Liddell one looks like he was copy+pasted on top. Fucking terrible. I guess this is what you get for going 'mainstream.'
jimbonics- April 26, 2010 at 8:39 am
Dear imalebowski:

There is no "off" switch, dickweed. Welcome to CagePotato. Now go paint some fruit.
imalebowski- April 26, 2010 at 8:19 am
lol @ "as someone who has both fought and created art"

boy, he's the full package, isn't he ladies?
imalebowski- April 26, 2010 at 8:18 am
jesus everyone, is it possible for cagepotato commenters to turn off the cynical asshole switch? my god. i think they're awesome, and OMG i've taken numerous painting courses SO MY OPINION'S LEGIT. and i'm really impressed. to the guy who got really really pissed off at the artist's (i'll admit, semi corny) explanation of the fight game throughout history, this is an explanation for people who are going to be at an ART GALLERY. he isn't painting these for the 23 year old cynical keyboard warriors of the world.

ah, nvm. these paintings suck, i could do better, this guy should kill himself, what a moron for even trying.
skates- April 26, 2010 at 8:09 am
as someone who has both fought and created art, i would like to say that these paintings generally suck. the only ones worth spending time on are the priest and monk type ones. the ones with fighters and naked chicks suck ass. they look like something a white trash teenager that lives in a trailer would paint

edit: that being said, i am a big fan of the priest, saint, and monk paintings.
Omelette Platter- April 26, 2010 at 8:08 am
saint fryklund?
agentsmith- April 26, 2010 at 8:01 am
Looks like ripoffs of old Conan comic book covers. Just get it over with and put a sword in the guy's hand and put the chicks in fur bikinis and riding polar bears.
Get Off Me- April 26, 2010 at 7:59 am
I love how the long winded explanation of a fighters struggle can be found in these paintings....could you imagine walking around an art gallery(maybe with a scarf on) and over hear some aristocrat(like that judge who scored 50-45 for Edgar at 112) reciting that garbage text from above.

I must say that Sable is very well done in the Brock painting, tired, beat up and top heavy. I think the painting has more to do with Brock's struggle to "stay on top" of his lovely wife(I think she's well into her forties as well).
JackBauer- April 26, 2010 at 7:53 am
I'll be the voice of the unrefined layman, going out on a limb to say: These paintings fucking suck dick. If they don't impact me as an MMA fan with their subtle message of life struggles and overcoming them, then I fail to see how they could possibly touch the sensibilities of the art high-elite. They're just shoddy portraits of topless athletes with strippers next to them. Just because it's oil on canvas does not separate it from a smutty Gatorate commercial.

EDIT: Ralf, go to the gallery anyway, '"Night Elf with a 12 Gauge" Oil on Linen' is worth the trip. FEDOR IS NOT AMUSED, NAKED WOMAN!
Cock_Chestnar- April 26, 2010 at 7:39 am
At least the D on Brocks chest is accurate. But i think the artist was being generous on the hair-do it's a little too GQ to be Lesnar.

I feel sorry for the losers that buy this shit.
danomite- April 26, 2010 at 7:37 am
i think it's pretty obvious that this guy got some pics of fighters and painted them exactly like the picture, then hired some big breasted women to get naked while he paints them next to the fighters pics. i recognized the chuck and jardine poses from old ufc posters or advertisements.

that being said, this guy is a genius. My painting ability is almost as good as this guy's but never did I think to use it to pay women to get naked, then turn around and sell that painting for a huge profit, which i couuld then use to pay more women to get naked while i paint them, and so on...
ben- April 26, 2010 at 7:35 am
@jabsentThat *is* Jeff Monson...go to the Peter Blake or Jurg Dubin websites to see the Fedor painting.