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Strange Days

Thierry Goldberg Projects
5 Rivington Street, 212-967-2260
East Village / Lower East Side
February 27 - March 29, 2009
Reception: Friday, February 27, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Jeana Baumgardner, Alison Blickle, Jordan Buschur, Khalif Kelly, Amy Lincoln, Hiroyuki Nakamura

Thierry Goldberg Projects is pleased to present Strange Days, a group show featuring paintings by Jeana Baumgardner, Alison Blickle, Jordan Buschur, Khalif Kelly, Amy Lincoln, and Hiroyuki Nakamura. In dialogue, these artists move towards new attitudes in figuration. By doing so, they shape new modes and narrative potentials. Straddling their own realities and subjectivities, this group tells of strange days past, present, and imagined.

Arriving at the strange and the mysterious, Jeana Baumgardner portrays an all too familiar life coinciding with unexpected abstract presences. An inherent part of reality, these metaphysical, visionary, perhaps spiritual phenomena sit on the same plane with reality as instants of beauty. The fact that the people and pets in the paintings leave the abstractions unnoticed is a sign of skepticism, a distancing, towards wonder and the transcendent.

Amy Lincoln grapples with presence over representation in a more autobiographical manner. Through a willingness to invent identity and find a beauty within the conventional, she portrays her life and identity loosely in such a way that may be called self-portraiture. In paintings like Night in Bushwick, she displays a comfort and humor in the everyday. She finds herself in each picture as she relates, “I don’t consider any one of them exactly me. Yet, they are all taken from my image,” thus expanding the sense of self in portraiture.

More stand-ins for her ancestors than herself, Alison Blickle’s portraits are an expression of her desire to connect to times past. She conveys a mix of fantasy and reality in her fictional 1000 year “Annual Portraits at the Lake” series. She paints from an imagined scenario in which a family paints a portrait of one female relative every year by the same lake. She muses, “It’s all a fantasy of mine.”

Jordan Buschur is also looking to the past for inspiration; the lens of mid-century American magazines such as LIFE and Ladies Home Journal frames her approach. By altering pictures of a time so sure about its morals, she obscures the certainty of those values by composing ambiguous situations in wavering veils of paint. Buschur uses the edge and materials of Painting to “represent an exterior that speaks to the interior of the painted subject” in all its complexity and uncertainty.

Khalif Kelly addresses charged issues by letting the paint speak too. Though his figurative style is becoming more geometrically reduced, Kelly’s palette continues to scream with a saturation all his own. Not all fun and games, the narratives in Kelly?s scenes of kids at play are suggestive of symbolic self-questioning. His depiction of a contemporary young African American experience is playful, bold, and rich in associations.

Hiroyuki Nakamura’s paintings are equally playful, they are located in the frontier days of the American West. Times clearly have changed in this land as androgynous figures, white faced from worry and exhaustion, fill the sparse landscape. Occasionally, they gather to writhe and dance for their own entertainment in a freak show commenting on our society—just as one figure leaps nude in Stage Dive or by the symbolic barbed wired and white pregnant belly (greed) in after the gold rush. Concerning American culture, Nakamura takes all these changes in stride. Like a cowboy himself, he maintains a critical eye towards these strange days, but accepts the spectacle, “as a passing point on the line that never ends.”
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