Friday, February 13, 2009

Go Figure - Current Exhibition

Our current exhibition is "Go Figure: Contemporary Interpretations of Figurative Art" featuring work by Brian Novatny, Jen Mazza, Joshua Meyer, Brett Osborn, Christopher Parrott, and Chin-Cheng Hung. The exhibit will run through February 28th.

Curator's Statement:

Artists have been fascinated by the figure for centuries. Indeed, figurative art has been a fundamental part of the artistic vocabulary, providing the basis and foundation of creative expression. The human figure has been the subject of some of the most important works of art, inspiring artists to develop and cultivate their work. Yet in an age that is saturated and challenged by multimedia and technology we see a new direction in figurative art, one that responds to the innovative changes in our world. Contemporary artists are exposed to more sources of information and imagery; they are aware of both the history and trends in art and they seek creative expression that is a unique response to the time in which they live. “Go Figure” includes a selection of contemporary artists Jen Mazza, Joshua Meyer, Christopher Parrott, Brett Osborn, Chin-Cheng Hung and Brian Novatny whose fascinating work is somehow connected with tradition yet offers a fresh and new form of expression.

Lucien Freud wrote, “I want paint to work as flesh… my portraits to be of the people, not like them. Not having a look of the sitter, but being them… As far as I am concerned the paint is the person. I want it to work for me just as flesh does.” In this spirit, Jen Mazza’s and Joshua Meyer’s paintings emphasize the “skin” of the painting: the surface is manipulated, magnifying the initial gesture and emotion of the subject. Their paintings seem to carve the human and one is engulfed by the energy and visceral quality of the pieces. Christopher Parrott’s naturalistic figures are like a mirage. His beautifully crafted drawings set a stage to which we are offered a glimpse. Working largely from memory, Brett Osborn paints ethereal figures intended to function as markers of the past, as signifiers of our shred of ancestry that is shrouded in mystery. The ghostly figures (typically one of his ancestors) in the landscape, suggest the bonds of humanity to the earth, the sense of place and belonging that we feel to our native lands. Chin-Cheng Hung’s portraits are meticulously executed to a level of hyperrealism and draw upon a cinematic vocabulary. “I express the human emotions with a powerful visual effect through the huge, detailed faces and use simple backgrounds to emphasize the figure.” Brian Novatny incorporates art historical references (from the Renaissance to Russian folk art, European Modernism and kitsch) to bear upon colorful, intimate works that offer a unique artistic language.

These artists share a grounding in the past, in a tradition that goes back to the earliest forms of artistic expression but their personal interpretation is fresh, challenging and unique.

Hope Cohn
January 2009

No comments: