Brooklynite Gallery presents Surface Tension, a two person exhibition of artists Guy Denning and David Walker. Surface Tension aims to explore the stress that festers behind the processes of creation and the battles won and lost between an artist and his medium. The show also revisits that old cliché about how painting is all about the external expression of the inner processes of art and the artist.
Wielding brushes and knives, Guy Denning battles a myriad of ideas that stir around in ones head in the hope that the visual translation might become the remedy. These disparate thoughts that don’t connect to anyone or anything in particular, yet continue to reoccur, are expressed through precarious self-portraits and female figures who at times are featured in crude, semi-abandoned locations. Behind layers of oil paint and turpentine, it would appear upon near completion, Denning’s work was then forcefully blasted in one direction with a fire-hose. His work has all the makings of a piece by a classically trained painter, yet the added angst of a back street fist-fight. According to a past journal entry, Denning states, “Any narrative is at best buried beneath the layers of fragmented visual metaphor and allegory”. One can then only assume that Denning’s subjects, such as soldiers pointing Browning heavy machine-guns in a sub-basement, women struggling with sexuality and self-portraits that appear to be anything but, are in part speaking possibly about… “unattainable goals”? In the end, as Denning puts it… “It all seems to go round in circles”.
For David Walker, much of this “Surface Tension” is self-inflicted. The gestural approach Walker uses when creating his alluring female portraits can only be achieved using a self-imposed rule of “no brushes, only spray-paint” techniques. Up until this exhibition, Walker also abstained from using a color palette other than black, white and pink. For now he’s trashed that rule and instead explores a diverse and at times clashing range of hues and metallics, giving a nod to the days of ‘acquiring’ spray paint from wherever you could and using what you had on hand, which results in refreshing and off-key color combinations. There is also further exploration into abstract tagging and photo-realism, all executed in layer upon layer of spray paint. For Walker, the subject of his work inherently lies in the facial expression—just the right one that is. Using found imagery pillaged from peoples photo albums, snapshots and old magazines, Walker is in constant search of a precise emotion or tilt of the head that evokes a visceral response and can expand the distance between his work and that of an intelligible portrait artist.