WORK IN PROGRESS
Issue Three of Work in Progress presents six figurative painters who represent a diverse range of approaches towards the medium and explore new ways of approaching narrative storytelling, self-representation, identity politics, and physical manipulation of the material.
Sexuality and representation of identity threads through the work of Danny Ferrell, Louis Fratino, and GaHee Park. Ferrell’s romantic, technically detailed, and realistic oil paintings explore presentations of male sexuality and romanticism through coded compositions that are able to be read both as homoerotic images and also as universal portraits of the male form. His attention to lighting, color, and surface combined with his utilization of Internet image sourcing and a digital-collage process allows for his paintings to directly engage with today's contemporary day and age. Louis Fratino’s paintings are more explicitly homoerotic, yet he balances this subject with loose figures, forms, and narratives that are often drawn from his own personal life and memories. Nostalgia and intimacy are heavyweights in his work, and his strong brushstrokes and rich non-realistic color palettes remove his subjects from our present reality. Similarly, GaHee Parks’ oil paintings explore social constructions of sexual acts and graphic eroticism, merging this with an exploration of nonlinear narratives and perspectival abstractions of space and form. Focused primarily on interior spaces and environments, Park’s paintings are concerned with how narratives, personal histories, and social relationships can be portrayed and honestly explored.
Signs and objects enter through the work of Julie Curtiss and Paul Gagner. Utilizing archetypal imagery, such as cigarettes and hair, Curtiss’ surrealistic paintings explore the relationship between social imaginations and constructions of meaning with abstracted environments and obscured forms, forcing viewers to question their interpretation and translation of imagery and meaning. Paul Gagner’s paintings utilize objects as stand-ins for ideas, people, concepts, or references. Creating still-life and narrative figurative paintings, Gagner’s absurd and humorous scenes allow for objects to take on an applied meaning as signifiers of things beyond themselves. For example, sandwiches can be layered with lobsters, alarm clocks, beers, and books creating condensed and formatted still-lifes that articulate themes, questions, and ideas beyond their immediate object compositions. His playful and bitingly deprecating works offer a sarcastic presentation of contemporary concerns, scenes, and insecurities by abstracting the narrative representation. In a similar fashion, Miko Veldkamp’s loose and simplified oil paintings focus on imagery and idealistic conceptions of pure and honest representations. Veldkamp is engaged directly with a translation of imagery through the language of painting. His works are dense with his attention to technical and formal aspects of painting that are combined with everyday scenes and abstracted concepts to create pure representation of imagery that are invested in the physical mark making and representational construction of a painting itself.
This set of painters challenge our perception of story, figure, and representation. I am incredibly excited to present this issue and showcase these artists and their work in conversation with one another. Very special thanks to Miko, Louis, GaHee, Julie, Paul, and Danny for their collaboration and involvement with this project.
- Sholeh Hajmiragha