31GRAND is pleased to announce, “why on earth?”, Anthony Pontius’ first solo show with the gallery. Pontius’ paintings (exhibited along side the drawing studies for each) examine the importance of the human connection to history and nature. By recontextualizing historical imagery, stories and concepts in the world of now , he presents a new narrative that is familiar yet the full meaning is not immediately accessible. Employing a mix of past and present techniques, he forms these new arrangements; using classical clarity to define a specific part of a story and at the same time abstraction to complete or destroy the formation of the work. The finished painting is a proclamation of something new and not easily defined, realizing that history and memory are not clear or concise, but the consequences of interpretation.
Within Pontius’ varied and elegant imagery, he often plays with anthropomorphism, which can be seen in his St. Sebastian-like panda bear figure in “there is an end in flight” and in “the soothsayers greatest game ever”, in which an 80s style freestanding video game grows beside a lake in a beatific landscape, the image then covered with a graffiti tag and splatters of paint. He also offsets recognizable historical figures, such as Abe Lincoln, which can be seen in “the doe-eyed killer” but then twists them in his own semi-surreal style to take on his new narrative.