Two breathtaking shows takes painting to a whole new level with a limitless amount elements jam packed onto a canvas tiring your wandering eyes, eyes that are mesmerized and trying to comprehend and make sense of the visual overload.
Conquest of Mexico and Wilderness Epic, 2008, watercolor on paper, 90 x 24 in
The works of Aaron Morse at Guild & Greyshkul brought me back to the era of Alphonse Mucha, arts & crafts, Klimt, Vienna Secession, and Schiele, except contemporized. The font, the massive swirling of female figures and fish, and the color palette were warm, deep, opaque and rich reflecting a more aquarian, feminine and soulful aesthetic. Infused with such motifs are scenes of city life, traffic, streetlights, people rushing from one spot to the next except the planes in which they are layered and conglomerated. Each painting/drawing is rife with narrative, history, fiction, fantasy, contemporary. The stories are sliced by ascending and descending figures, animals and objects cutting through their own timeline creating a dizzying array of patterns and colors.
There is a shimmer, glimmer, glitter to some as the artist incorporates metallic hues amidst the dark and romatic hue of oranges, browns and violets. The works are mythical, organic, and vintage but mindboggling enough, it takes on subjects as various as man v. nature, indian massacres, farming, urban violence, and historical figure monument. I found this multi-layered work to be quite beautiful.
Target, 2008, oil on linen, 60 x 78 in
Leslie Tonkonow always has wonderful shows and a new series of paintings by Ali Banisadr is no exception. These intricately patterned, pseudo-abstract renderings of war and chaos are packed with layers upon layers of dense imagery, merging soldiers with clowns and cloaked demons with carnival animals.
Painterly application is stupendously perfected through variety of rendered strokes from the scrape to the quick dab, a dripped line here and an emphatic line there. They remind me one of my favorites, JMW Turner, with figurative elements that upon closer look is nothing more but a conglomeration short strokes, a deceiving tromp l’oeil of mark making. The artist in my opinion has perfected the ambivalaence and waywardness of pure representation by co-mingling object with foundational abstraction.
The colors used are part ominous part circus bright, but in a way that brings out the creepy and mysterious in the carnivalesque. Each painting is framed by jarring abstract patterns perhaps representating the vast unknown that is space, future, and the mind and it brings a claustrophobic affect as it snugs the picture from all 4 sides and contains the chaos within. I couldn’t get enough of these paintings and can’t wait to see more.
NYT review here.