‘MESKIN / UMEZO’

AUSTIN ENGLISH

MAY 10 – JUNE 9, 2019

Opening Friday, May 10th, 7-9 p.m.

 

 

Marvin Gardens is pleased to announce the opening of a solo exhibition by New York-based artist Austin English. ‘Meskin/ Umezo’ takes its title from a three-part graphic narrative that English began in June 2016, working on it without pause for the last three years. On view are 46 original works on paper which form Parts One & Two.

English’s masterful drawings hinge upon the variety of ways in which the human figure can be twisted up, contorted, or reconfigured. Even the speech of his characters seems spasmodic, mirroring our contemporary mode of public discourse – increasingly shrill, interruptive, and proclamatory rather than dialogic. At the center of the works is a story in which the four central characters contradict each other relentlessly, even before any one of them can express a finished thought. This act of contradiction is neither endorsed nor repulsed. English melds dialogue and image to invest each drawing with a psychological agency that can sometimes be unnerving.

At the same time, there is also another strong affective current flowing through the entire body of work, one that is both careful and loving. The soft lead of the color pencils and the liquid passages of gauche quietly insist on a commitment to these characters, an insistence that is as dedicated and time-consuming as the precise lines within which the colors lie, and within the defined narrative these characters inhabit.

 

 

‘SEA VIEWS’

PETER CLEARY

MAY 10 – JUNE 9, 2019

Opening Friday, May 10th, 7-9 p.m.

 

Marvin Gardens is pleased to announce the U.S. solo debut of Irish painter Peter Cleary. On view in our second gallery space are six new oil paintings on panel depicting human-like figures in various interactions within shadowy landscapes.

Cleary’s process is to work on several paintings simultaneously, building each of them up texturally with the imagery. The viewer can notice shifts in decisions on the final layers when the imagery departs from the texture underneath it as previous imagery is covered and painted forms are redistributed while physical forms remain. Working on panels, whether linen or wood, offers a rigidity of surface that Cleary can dig into with greater force.

Counter to our contemporary urban experience, where figures are often set against a background of pale concrete and glass, setting them as dark shapes against bright spaces of diffuse light, in these paintings the figures are the brightest part of the composition, offset by backgrounds that appear to be natural landscapes or forest settings.

Cleary builds up the characters without a preconceived plan, working within his system of improvisation with the goal of creating interiority for the characters, their eyes being of central importance. The way in which they are painted puts a final punctuation on the method of creating an image that is tempered back from illusion by the force of materiality.