Exploring the Erotic with Disparate Styles at 101/Exhibit’s Two Los Angeles Spaces

In its two Los Angeles spaces, 101/Exhibit will exhibit two concurrent painting shows by Kent Williams and Robin Eley that have elements of the suggestive—pleasing portraits of attractive young people—but the similarities end there. 

To start, Eley’s “PRISM” is a stylish collection of nine oil-on-Belgian linen works and five 3D-printed photopolymer bust sculptures. The Australian artist’s oil paintings of youthful nudes are intensely photorealistic, but adorned with a sort of geometric abstraction, which gives them a crystalline look. There’s a reason behind all of this—Eley has culled his subjects from the digital portraits that he made for the busts in the 3D imaging software Maya. Printed in 3D onto segments of photopolymer and assembled with a duteous process of sanding, gluing, and hand-polishing, the busts manage to link new technologies with craftsmanship in a stunning way. Departing from his earlier works, painstaking photorealistic paintings, the new prismatic works not only represent changes in style and technique, but also Eley’s construction of a barrier between subject and viewer. 

Williams’ show, “How Human of You,” also represents a departure for the artist, who has worked in Los Angeles for 20 years as a painter and a notable graphic novel artist. This is his first show for the gallery, and it marks a shift towards abstraction for Williams. Though many of the paintings in the show remain figurative—depicting chaotic scenes of youthful indiscretion and tranquil, erotic nudes—there is also a new series of abstractions. These paintings are blasts of color, sometimes blotting out what look to be representational images—maybe a still life, perhaps a stained glass window. Shown together the abstract and figurative works present a cohesive dialogue, held together by a consistent palette and Williams’ dynamic painterly brushstrokes.

Though these two artists share little beyond certain depictive themes, there is a psychic link between the shows that make for a compelling pairing. 

—Maxwell Williams

Robin Eley, “Prism,” is on view at 101/Exhibit, Los Angeles, October 18-November 29, 2014.

Kent Williams, “How Human of You,” is on view at 101/Exhibit, October 25-December 29.

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