Eben Kling, ‘WOOF, OOF, WHOO and WOW,’ Flashe on canvas, 32″ x 38″, 2017
Good Work Gallery presents:
‘New Imagism in Contemporary Painting,’ curated by Adam Zucker
Opening reception Saturday, April 29th, 7:00-9:00 pm
Anthony Palocci Jr.
The Ideogrammic Method was created by the poet Ezra Pound as a means to express abstract ideas through concrete symbols. This aesthetic form led to the development of Imagism, which is characterized by its attempt to isolate a single image to reveal its essence. The first tenet of the Imagist Manifesto was “To use the language of common speech, but to employ always the exact word, not the nearly-exact, nor the merely decorative word.” While Imagism was largely a literary form, the idea of synthesizing multiple perspectives into a single recognizable image translates within contemporary figurative paintings by Devon Clapp, Eben Kling, Anthony Palocci Jr., Emilia Olsen, and Polly Shindler. Similar to the Imagist poets who eschewed classical values, these artists employ techniques that convey the feeling of perception rather than mimesis (an accurate representation of life itself). By connoting rather than describing what is happening in their paintings, the viewer is free to decode the abstract meanings within these implicit images.
Anthony Palocci Jr.’s depictions of everyday objects are so intricately rendered that the viewer is at once enveloped in the realism and detail of the subject matter. Yet they are perceived to be something more, which is evident in the object’s scale and orientation within the picture plane.
Emilia Olsen’s intricately layered figurative expressionist paintings are watching us. Plant matter such as cacti and ferns have eyes and seemingly exhibit unique human-like personalities. Her palette of brilliant greens and fields of luscious succulents are fantastical and are a welcoming experience when entering her studio, which is located in an industrial part of Brooklyn, mostly devoid of nature.
The abject nature of Devon Clapp’s imagery explores the fetishized natural world, where dualities at first seem contradictory but on careful examination they are revealed to have parallel effects. Images of sexual desire, corporeal, and erotic in nature, at the same time express feelings of fear and discomfort. Taboo and kitsch, indiscretion and language, death and sensuality are themes that are expressively aligned together in Clapp’s body of work.
Eben Kling’s anarchic compositions are crowded with tangled limbs, simultaneity, violence, the cul-de-sac, negligence, beers, excess, television screens, helpless figures, debauchery and celestial ambivalence. There is some semblance of humor within these works, but all too familiar is the feeling of anxiety and tragedy. He makes the mundane and banal moments in contemporary life seem invigorating while being critical of gluttony in our contemporary culture. For Kling, there’s a real desperation in those smaller moments of frenzy, which are very powerful.
Polly Shindler’s painterly environments portray everyday scenes featuring both interiors and exteriors. The spaces in these works range from the public to the intimate and are largely devoid of human interaction. The scenes are composed in such a way that that the viewer enters the painted subjects as a voyeur into unknown yet familiar circumstances. It is as if they have stumbled upon a day in the life of someone else, or even our alternate selves.
Altogether the work of these painters employs corporeal imagery to depict something uniquely and autonomously signifiable.
June 2017: Ben Sisto: ‘As Is (Signs)’
Opening reception Friday, June 2nd, 7:00-9:00 pm
Viewing hours 6/3 – 6/4, 11:00-6:00 pm