Carrie Haddad Gallery is proud to present Figures We Fancy, a group exhibit that celebrates our favorite contemporary figurative painters – both real and imagined. The exhibit will feature paintings by Mark Beard’s invented persona, “Bruce Sargeant”, David Austin, Robert Goldstrom, Greg Decker, Abel Ramirez, graphite drawings by David Dew Bruner, and collaged works on paper by Louise Laplante. On view June 13th – July 29th, all are welcome to join us for a reception to meet the artists on Saturday, June 16th from 5-7pm.
Mark Beard’s most prolific artist persona is Bruce Sargeant, an imagined English artist working in the 1930’s best known for oil paintings of the male figure that embrace traditionally masculine themes. This year, the iconic oil paintings of robust athletes swinging from ropes and performing handstands will appear in grand scale as the gallery features sections of the original mural that was commissioned for Abercrombie & Fitch’s flagship store in New York City in the early 1990s. Robert Goldstrom’s series of Anatomy Studies also draws focus to the male figure, treating each body part as though it were a trophy; a muscled bicep, strong back, or flexed buttocks exude strength on 10 x 8-inch canvas panels. David Austin’s witty narrative paintings pique intrigue and make us smile. Men in suits often find themselves in compromising situations, such as walking through a sublimely green wooded forest carrying a suspicious cooler full of Lord-knows-what. A new series of narrative scenes derived from old film stills leans more into abstraction; the figures glow with hazy luminescence as if we are to experience them as a dream or faint memory.
Greg Decker is a natural storyteller who paints figures as characters in an on-going theater. His oil paintings on aluminum are rooted in a fascination with Western mythology, each life size figure is often depicted in some form of motion or action. Figures are clothed in bright, bold colorful patterns derived from Decker’s love of African fabric patterning. Louise Laplante matches her delightful sense of humor to the content of vintage books by collaging the pages as a backdrop for a chalk drawing that ignites a dialogue with the underpinning text. Laplante presents her own da Vinci Vitruvian Woman dolled up in bloomers, arms and legs outstretched on collaged pages from a 19th century book illustrating exercises for men, women and children to do at home for maintaining good health. Abel Ramirez finds a unique way of referencing pop culture through the stylistic simplifications of his inspired female portraits. David Dew Bruner will feature a recent series of African figures and wildlife portrayed in his celebrated use of graphite coupled with antique frames. Beginning with a group of ‘Three Figure’ drawings, the artist’s bold line work embarked on fresh territory, morphing into abstracted elephants, giraffes, and monkeys. After reworking this exotic theme, cubist style figures inspired by traditional African masks soon followed.