Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce Solid Void, a series of new works by Brooklyn-based artist Esao Andrews, in what will be his first solo exhibition at the gallery.
In Solid Void, Andrews explores compositions with overlapping foreground and background in some of his largest pieces to date. His distinctly figurative oil paintings on wood panel feature dark, surreal characters set within haunted atmospheres, blending erotic and often frightening imagery to form a ghost-like underworld.
Andrew’s signature style and aesthetic continue to permeate his new body of work, although his characteristic low-key palette has been updated by introducing full-spectrum color—bursting through prisms to divide areas of formless ambiguity and solid void (as the show title suggests).
Paintings in this exhibition feature hybrid, winged, and masked creatures, in narratives indirectly inspired by Greco-Roman mythology. Andrews sets an alluringly macabre mood using a diverse range of historical and visual references including Egyptian mummy portraiture, and a portrait of Mary Shelley, the 19th Century author of Gothic classic Frankenstein: The Modern Prometheus.
Andrews’ subjects are rendered under foreboding clouds, which create dramatic lighting and kinetic tension. Delicate textural patterns on lace gossamer garments worn by a number of figures suggest cobwebs, feathers, and bone tissue. Mysterious silhouettes peer out through the windows of a haunted house; a giant spider spins a child into its web; a group of masked lions appear stacked precariously to form a pyramid; and a small crowd of drunken revelers ride on a single horse’s back. Andrews captures these imagined moments to convey the curious quality of his own fantasy folklore.
ABOUT THE ARTIST Esao Andrews is currently based in Brooklyn. He grew up in Mesa, Arizona, and moved to New York in 1996. In 2000, he received a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts and participated in the 2002 BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Paintings by Andrews have been exhibited internationally. He cites Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Alfons Mucha as early influences. Andrews has also worked as a flash animator and illustrator. His illustration work has included Baker skateboards, a collaboration project with fellow LeVine-represented artist Tara McPherson for DC Comics, and album artwork for several bands. He currently does cover work for the House of Mystery series published by Vertigo Comics.