Previous Shows: 2014: Remote Viewing: Essay
by Mira Gerard
Remote Viewing is a form of extra-sensory perception (ESP) - specifically, the ability to sense a distant target through unseen impressions, like a psychic hired to help solve a murder investigation. A painter can be understood as a remote viewer, interpreting scraps of evidence and translating something that contains the truth in some form, even if it is reconfigured.
Artists who work with recognizable images must make a choice- to heighten the fantasy, or to exist on the edge between form and formlessness. This is not a simple equation. Each one must find a way to encrypt (or decrypt) their own obsessions through experimentation, invention and intervention.
The paintings in this exhibition embrace contradiction. Each artist dissects and reconstitutes his or her subjects, fearlessly editing what is not necessary while indulging in excess.
Kim Dorland’s work is audacious, reveling in sensual volumes of paint and blatant imagery. Utilizing neon-bright acrylic washes overlaid with oil paint so thick, dark and glossy that it sometimes resembles tar, Dorland creates cinematic and lurid forest scenes populated with animals, spectral figures, and scenes derived from his everyday life.
Snakes, hand gestures and hoodies cue a mash-up of ancient and contemporary symbols in Sara-Vide Ericson’s staged paintings derived from fragments of her dreams. Her figurative subjects stand, kneel, and climb, confident and solid, appearing to be dredged from the unconscious to the conscious as if they were birthed into bright sunlit landscapes from within the earth.
Dazed and prepubescent faces emerge from wet, melancholic veils of paint in Finnish painter Minna Komi’s muted portraits. They are excessively delicate, but upon closer inspection they are surprisingly inventive and spontaneous- a potent balance of contrasts, with titles that allude to relationships and secrets.
In a recent conversation with Charles Ladson about his paintings, he told me “all the mistakes eventually add up to something.” Indeed, his work reads like a series of painstaking and at times comical interventions. His surfaces are refined and sanded and worked over, and the imagery masquerades as an easily decipherable narrative until you discover that each painting contains a series of riddles. They are painted poems made of broken limbs; strange bondage in fractured landscapes.
Hanneline Røgeberg’s paintings find their entry point in the craft of academic rendering and then promptly interrupt it. Obfuscated depictions and tricks or slips of the tongue enhance this uneasiness as she seeks out what she calls the doubleness, excess, and undoing of paint itself. Frustration and rage are encoded but not explicitly stated, often giving way to sensuality in a preoccupation with fur, hair, and flesh.
Emi Robinson's delicate, silent interiors are in his own words “invested in the unnamable” through the process of painting nameable things. Relationships of shapes and color translated from the geometry of each interior consume the figure, which in turn becomes inextricable from the space. There is no hierarchy, yet every element is crucial to everything else. To me they are a portrait of intimacy, reminiscent of Bonnard, profound yet uncomplicated, mysterious and achingly palpable.
In my own work, I recently stopped using visual references and pre-planned imagery and began to approach the making of each painting as an unfurling of consciousness. Sometimes a memory or a whim is the trigger, or it can come from a dream, or from a recurring thought. My paintings are now the result of a (sometimes) spiraling and chaotic series of actions, alterations, and edits. The figures are mostly invented, and nothing is finished until the paintings form a new logic- one that is almost always surprising- and often surprisingly familiar.