Sloan Fine Art is pleased to present “Paintings,” by Greg Hopkins, in the front gallery and “XOXO” by Roni Feldman in the project room.
Greg Hopkins paints in layers. Each painting begins with an ink-wash on a layer of tape that covers the entire surface of the canvas. The drawing is then cut out to create a frisket onto which multiple layers of paint are applied. Each paint layer is preceded by a new tape frisket that acts as a stencil. Acrylic paint is applied to the canvas through the cut out shapes.
Through this process, the initial ink drawing is destroyed and replaced with archival acrylic paint. Hopkins likens his finished artworks to the fossilized remains of extinct animals. “It reminds me of the way fossils aren’t old bones from dead animals, but stone that has replaced the bone as minerals migrate through layers of sediment. My paintings begin as temporary ink drawings that are, layer by layer, replaced by a permanent material as the final image is revealed.”
Greg Hopkins’ work has been likened to Abstract Expressionism. Hopkins also describes his work as having “a touch of Pop art, mostly in its response to Ab-Ex.” He sites Warhol and especially Roy Lichtenstein’s brushstroke paintings as sources. The artist’s other influences include Navajo rugs, Amish quilts, video games, wallpaper, comic books and illuminated manuscripts.
Subtle references to numbers, a longtime fascination of Hopkins, are also present. Yet, despite the order and repetition of Hopkins’ process, his paintings still retain a hand-drawn quality. Lines and patterns melt into those that lay beneath. Carefully preserved drips of paint lend an element of decay, entropy and time. In these meticulously executed works, order is questioned, symmetry is skewed, and structure shows its age.
Originally from the South, Greg Hopkins earned his BFA and MA from University of Alabama. He received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. In addition to previous solo exhibitions at Galleria Glance in Turin, Italy and Sloan Fine Art, Hopkins’ work has been seen in group exhibitions at venues nationwide including Postmasters and Exit Art in New York, Columbia College in Chicago, RISD Museum in Providence, RI, and the University of MA in Amherst. Greg Hopkins lives and works in Brooklyn.
Roni Feldman believes, “There is a powerful energy that occurs in crowds” and proves this point in his densely populated, airbrushed acrylic works. Feldman’s crowds evoke the spirit and ecstasy of unified intention alongside the melee of mob mentality. Whirls of figures celebrate, rally, cheer, dance, and embrace alongside others that battle, burn, sink, and dissolve. And with his even, indeed egalitarian, distribution of imagery across the canvas, Feldman forces the viewer to slow down, explore and process the entire surface of each painting, each face in the crowd. At first glance, figures may feel similar, even repetitive. But on closer inspection they reveal themselves as highly individualized, emotionally charged and uniquely executed. And encouraging this act of slowing down and experiencing the canvas intimately is of great importance to Feldman. In an age where humanity is assaulted by a media-fueled torrent of visual imagery as never before, taking the time to look becomes, in Feldman’s words, a “generous” act. Acknowledging an aesthetic drawn heavily from 1960’s psychedelia, van murals, and other airbrush art forms, Feldman also notes, “in my work, airbrushed paint is like a thin veil that separates utopia and dystopia, civilization and chaos. The blurred, ethereal nature of sprayed paint, along with its flat, even application” creates a tension “between uniqueness and difference, abstraction and representation.” And indeed it is in this tense and glorious state of in-between that Feldman’s works reside, deeply rewarding any viewer willing to take the time to slow down.
Roni Feldman earned his BA from UC Santa Barbara and his MFA from Claremont Graduate University. His work has been shown worldwide, including solo exhibitions at Toomey-Tourell Fine Art in San Francisco and Wilson Street Gallery in Sydney, and group shows at the Torrance Art Museum, Charlie Smith Gallery in London and Marina Abromovic Institute in San Francisco to name a few. Feldman lives and works in the Brewery Arts Complex in Downtown Los Angeles. “XOXO” is his first solo exhibition in New York.