When walking into Gerben Mulder's studio, you are first hit with all sorts of smells mingled with oil, smoke and other unrecognizable yet familiar substances. Your eyes wander to a corner of the room where a table stands filled with all sorts of cups and saucers, cans that are being used as paint holders face the window. The 550 sq. ft of space Mulder occupies reflects his paintings, deliberately imperfect and evident of his movements. It was in his studio that we began our conversation about painting and came up with the title of the show, "Dirty Messy Painting." This show brings together a diverse group of artists whose works explore materiality and process; and artists who take found, pop images to reveal the disparity between the everyday and the idealized narrative. Participating artists are Paul Bloodgood, Wallace Whitney, Sebastiaan Bremer, Janaina Tschäpe, Gerben Mulder, Stephen J Shanabrook & Veronika Georgieva, Melissa Dyanne Bartlett, Lauren Luloff and David Kramer.
Abstract paintings are often discussed with talk of colors, gestural movements; these elements are a crack, a way for audiences to enter. The works in Dirty Messy Painting, give us another point of entry - the material. Lauren Luloff utilizes domestic items like bed sheets, found textiles where the construction of the image is laid bare. In contrast, Wallace Whitney and Melissa Dyanne Bartlett's paintings emphatically want us to face the gestures, fields of colors and the movements, drawing on the influences of artists like Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, and Philip Guston. In the familiar is where the new and the personal pictorial narrative is taking place. Paul Bloodgood collages various images from parts and details from diverse sources and makes a study, yet traces of these steps are not obvious in the final image; instead, a map-like aerial view of a landscape emerges where lines and pictorial planes do not lead to familiar ground. Stephen Shanabrook and Veronika Georgieva melt plastic toys and remnants to create images that are at once beautiful and disturbing. The meaning, the material and the process are literally melted together in extreme heat, resulting in flattened plastic figures and abstract forms that are created just before they become liquid forms, suspended in time and space. The flattened figures are shiny, grotesque and seem stuck, like a cartoon character squashed on a wall. Yet the figures in these works will not pop up again before our eyes.
There is a sense of freedom in Gerben Mulder and Janaina Tschäpe's work. Painting is just one of the mediums that Tschäpe uses to express the fluid, messy, bloated body in nature. Her paintings unabashedly melds the figurative and the abstract as do Mulder's. Their gestures and forms are seductive and beckon to abandon any ideals about art. On the other hand, David Kramer uses familiar pop images and text to bring the subversive messages to foreground. Often, the text and the images do not agree like the disparity between the air sometimes we put on and how we really feel. Kramer brings these self-conscious thoughts to surface with a sense of humor and an "I don't give a ..." attitude that is tinged with "I do kind of care." Sebastiaan Bremer often uses blown up photographs from his past and of his family members as a surface, painting thousands of meandering tiny ink dots that dance on top of the photograph. The dots create lines and define the figure but also distort it, in a way shielding the subject from the viewer's gaze and scrutiny by seducing the viewer to return their gaze on the dots.
Dirty Messy Painting brings together artists who are utilizing "painting" in their practice. The result is an exhibition of works that show the enormous freedom and range that painting as a medium allows; and how the path to arrive at an image is almost never a clear cut and neat endeavor.
Paul Bloodgood (b. 1960, Nyack, NY) is a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and represented by Newman Popiashvilli NYC where he had a solo exhibition in March of this year. He currently lives and works in New York City.
Wallace Whitney (b. 1969, Boston, MA) is a co-founder of CANADA gallery in the Lower East Side of NYC and is represented by Horton Gallery in NYC. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Sebastiaan Bremer (b. 1970, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 1992. His recent solo exhibitions include Hales Gallery in London and Galeria Leme in Sau Paulo, Brazil. He is represented by Edwynn Houk Gallery, NY. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Janaina Tschäpe (b. 1973, Munich, Germany) has been exhibiting nationally and internationally since 1994. Her recent projects include a permanent mural installation at the University of Southern Florida and a solo exhibition at Galerie Xippas, Paris, France. She is represented by Sikkema Jenkins, NY and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, Sao Paulo, Brazil. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Gerben Mulder (b. 1972, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) has been exhibiting worldwide since 1998 and his recent exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson, AZ, Galeria Fortes Vilaça in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Kunst Verein, Koln, Germany. He is represented by Newman Popiashvili Gallery, NY and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, Sao Paulo, Brazil. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Stephen J Shanabrook and Veronika Georgieva have been collaborating since 2010 on artwork and ad campaigns for Comme des Garçons. Shanabrook has exhibited throughout the world in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including at the Drawing Center, NY, Swiss Institute, NY and Moscow Biennale. The artists live and work in New York City and Moscow, Russia.
Lauren Luloff's (b. 1980, Dover, NH) small works are represented by Horton Gallery, where she has been featured in two solo exhibitions. Her notable exhibitions include Tanya Bonakdar in NY, Queens Museum of Art, NY and the Bronx Rivers Arts Center, NY. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Melissa Dyanne Bartlett's recent exhibitions include Fowler Arts Collective in Brooklyn, NY, Dan Graham Gallery in Los Angeles, CA and Tompkins Projects in Brooklyn, NY. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
David Kramer (b. 1963, NY, NY) has been exhibiting across the United States, Canada and Europe. His recent exhibitions include Galerie Laurent Goldin, Paris and Heiner Contemporary, Washington DC. He is represented by Aeroplastics Contemporary, Brussels. He currently lives and works in New York City.
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