Allison Schulnik, Girl with Animal, 2008, Oil on canvas, 68×84 inches . Courtesy of Mike Weiss Gallery.
Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to present No Luck Too, the first New York solo exhibition of L.A. based painter Allison Schulnik. Within thickly sculpted oil paint, Allison Schulnik presents moments that mix historical fact with blatant fiction. Majestic dramas and compositions embody the spirit of the macabre in a Shakespearian brand of love, death and farce providing the viewer with a haunting sense of foreboding combined with compassion and expectation.
Referencing historical portraiture, Schulnik paints solitary figures, presciently focusing upon the subject’s gaze. In so doing Schulnik creates an unforgettable, fundamental aura of apprehension, revealing an inner sense of understanding and compassion for her troupe of cast-offs.
In many instances Schulnik draws from film, music and a contemporary sense of the gothic. Her heroes are culled from a mix of reality and imagination, and subsequently elevated into the realm of painting. Engulfed in layers of gloopy paint, Schulnik’s characters – the otherworldly hobo clowns, misshapen animals, and alien beasts – are each built upon a human frame, resulting in an awkward and surprising earthliness. In line with our contemporary understanding of tragedy, the protagonists appear both admirable and flawed. We are able to understand and empathize with them whether they are occupied with strange buffoonery or presented in a simple, dignified moment.
Further references to art history include Schulnik’s romantic landscapes; here her palette lightens and there is a greater sense of space within the compositions. Their majesty and glory hold ominous significance as a place of loneliness, love and desperation.
For No Luck Too, the artist introduces an animated work, Hobo Clown. Describing the film as a fractured, psychedelic-abstraction, Schulnik substitutes her paints and canvas for sculpted clay and miniature sets in an attempt to bring the misfit subjects of her paintings to life. Grounded against strange, desolate landscapes, her Hobo Clown characters are manipulated at 24-frames per second between restrained, subtle movement and literally having their humanity turned inside out.
Schulnik received her BFA in Experimental Animation at the California Institute of Arts. Her paintings have been exhibited internationally at venues including Rokeby, London and Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles. Schulnik was included in the 3rd Annual LA Weekly Biennial curated by Doug Harvey and was recently included in Art Review’s Future Greats issue in “Ones to Watch”.