A broad spectrum of young artists is brought together to explore new approaches to figurative imagery. Artists push the boundaries of the medium both in terms of technique and content, offering a new and expanded vision of the genre. Figuration, one of the oldest forms of art, continues to evolve as a reflection of new social, political, cultural and digital realities.
The artists featured in the exhibition are: Holly Coulis, Cynthia Daignault, Benjamin Degen, Lauren Luloff, Alan Reid, Daniel Rich and Gretchen Scherer.
Holly Coulis focuses on portraits and still life, often referencing artists like Édouard Manet, Henry Matisse, Balthus, and others. In Coulis’s paintings the spatial volumes are not always straightforward. Some objects are rendered with dimensionality, while others are flat. Some touch edges, others overlap and become translucent. Coulis uses her subjects both to convey a sense of intimacy, and to hint at the fine line between narrative and decoration, offering an interest in still life as an underrated genre.
Cynthia Daignault’s paintings are an ode to the act of looking. Often depicting outdoor subjects or single objects, Daignault reflects on the importance of observation, the passage of time, and light. Whether it is a sequence of landscapes, a tree illuminated by the light of different times of the day, or several clocks ticking the hour, the artist’s approach goes beyond mere representation and reminds us that what we see exceeds its form.
Benjamin Degen’s artworks interplay elements and conventions of Western and Eastern classical aesthetic traditions as well as American folk art, abstract painting and typography. Degen’s paintings often depict highly personal scenes employed to express his social, cultural and political views. He uses a vibrant color palette to deliver movement and intricacy and is equally attracted by the figure and ground, the physical and the abstract, night and day, male and female.
Lauren Luloff collages together pieces of fabric featuring patterns, figures or objects that she makes either by block printing or by drawing with bleach on colored bedsheets. In her original compositions, Luloff brings together abstraction and figuration. Domesticity is central in Luloff’s work: all painted images come from everything close to her, including her friends and family, and the sprouting flora in her Brooklyn studio.
Alan Reid’s paintings juxtapose the evanescent beauty of the women he portrays, rendered with elegant and delicate tones, with references in all fields, from music, art, poetry, art and history. Reid’s works are filled with seductive models - evocative of flapper-girls of the 1920s, stating splendor and independence - and visual citations that wink at more serious disciplines.
Daniel Rich’s meticulous acrylic paintings of the built environment are devoid of human presence, and explore the way architecture and urban space reflect our lived experience, as well as political and social structures. In a labor-intensive process, Rich works from Google images, newspapers, and photographs, translating them into paintings with hand-cut stencils, hundreds of colors, paintbrushes, and a squeegee to create smooth surfaces.
Gretchen Scherer is intrigued by the difference between the way she imagines spaces and how they actually appear. It is these places we create in our minds that inform her paintings. Scherer begins the painting process by collaging together pieces of different photographs of interiors from old books or magazines, thus creating a fictional space that blurs the perception between the real and the imaginary.