With sturdy, life-size figures rendered in oil, Worringer invokes the heroic scale and classical authority of the art-historical canon. The 30-year-old painter’s technical assurance is on display in the varied treatment of the surfaces, yet the works remain formally restrained and stern in disposition. Worringer paints angular bodies and rough-hewn faces using moody colors that can seem both chemically generated and time-worn. Blind-eyed but otherwise unremarkable-looking individuals in pared-down contemporary dress enact cryptic mise en scènes that may represent pivotal encounters, occult rituals, or conflicts of great consequence.
Citations from the history of painting (Pontormo, Rembrandt, Ingres) mingle with mysterious symbols and devices invented by the artist. Worringer’s fondness for forced perspectives, abrupt jumps in scale, strange auras, and literary arcana evokes the elegant skepticism of Mannerism and the knowing irrationality of Surrealism. There is more than a hint of narcissism in the fact that nearly every male protagonist in the paintings is an effigy of the artist himself, sightless but physically engaged. Yet this very process of cloning throws the artist’s singularity into question, subverting the assertion of a coherent and unique self.