Kingdom of Night
July 11 - October 3rd
In the Industrial Arts Brewing Company Tasting Room
Selected Paintings by Matt Enger
Jonathan Shorr, Curator
Excerpts in regular font from Marguerite Van Cook’s Review.
Even as at first glance the work is a hyper-updated pop-art, at a second look, it is a thought provoking conversation about identity, memory and how life and death engages history and art. Matt Enger (b. Oklahoma, 1963) is one of the most important living artists of our time. His art has been exhibited internationally in solo exhibitions and group shows. His work is in the collections of prominent collectors, arts organizations and corporations. Matt is recognized in the art world as one of the finest print makers and painters in the world, having produced innumerable Print Editions for Robert Rauschenberg and Keith Haring among others. Matt is a protégé of Robert Rauschenberg and worked as the Master’s Studio Assistant on Captiva Island, Florida for several years.
Twin brothers Matt and the late Mark Enger arrived on Avenue B in NYC in 1989 where they started their eponymous company “Exploding Sky Worldwide” in 1990. The name stood for the exquisite, outrageous and often controversial work they produced. They pursued their fine art careers, curated shows and performed with their band the “War Hippies,” all executed with their typically audacious energy. Their company took off as the vehicle for their limited edition clothing line, fine art objects, paintings, installations, and public collaborative identity. Exploding Sky quickly became known throughout the Art and Rock World. Artists, Collectors, Actors and Musicians spread the Enger brothers imagery from their Lower East Side headquarters. The brothers’ street wear was quickly adopted by the local musicians, including The Boredoms, Metallica, Lubricated Goat and others (C. Henry). Further, the meticulous nature of their silkscreen work earned them a reputation as supremely skilled printers, which made them a premiere resource to produce limited editions for important artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Keith Haring, Kiki Smith, Donald Baechler, Spooky and others.
This exhibition exceeds the viewer’s position as spectator, it forces one to enter the painting existentially. The Engers press one to revisit issues of consumerism in a way that recalls Picasso’s famously disruptive painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, here even more concretely. The Enger’s symbolism taunts our expectations and engages divergent emotions simultaneously.
The everyday elements of the past gather importance in Matt Enger’s often intriguingly contradictory analogies. The paintings carry both universal and personal ambivalence about American values, while there is a love of its history that is again both personalized and made collective. This richness of possibility and sublime execution makes Matt’s work compelling. Several sweeps of paint fill the canvas as the artist simplifies his gesture to a purist statement of his work. The piece, whose strokes are instant, fresh and sure, though full of kinetic energy and promise, presents a strangely complete comment. There is an ambiguity as one senses the artist draw breath as he moves to his next work and next state of consciousness. The physicality of this painting…invokes the interaction of the body and the spirit.
Matt’s historic challenges provide a subtext for his engaging visual humor. These paintings contain a fluid line that overlays a dynamic palette. These rule-breaking artworks such as “Candy Land” travel through unmapped territory with light-hearted pastels, boldly drawn lines and serene contemplation of The Last Supper, Pop-Art, invented myth, explosions, American and Native American history, abstraction, globes, battles, people, roses, tires, wolves, skulls, chaos and freedom. Through vibrating fluorescent hues, jewel-like gestures both abstract and representative, “Road House #2” and all these paintings are successful for their beauty and sophistication, and frequently in the work Matt’s painterly thrust elucidates his move towards simplification and essentialism. This is the ground upon which he makes his painterly stand. The paintings are universal in their appeal to the viewers shared past and hopeful future, even as they challenge what it means to be an American and to engage in modern life. This unique ability to create irresistibly attractive paintings through ecstatic color, raw gestural drawing, with a technologically advanced art process sets the viewer vibrating with an awareness of profound truth and detached bliss. One can’t help but smile.
Matt is forever looking for ways to create visual depth and line to enhance the psychedelic pallet he favors. His work is a metaphor which employs historical fact as well as fantasy to explore the daily challenges of people in crowded, technological, wondrous, divergent and many times frustrating societies.
There was an America Before Us
Photographs by Albert Hong
Industrial Arts Brewing Company Tasting Room
Through June 29th
Albert Hong is a New York-based photographer and a Vice President at The Blackstone Group. His unorthodox background in the financial sector, quite literally defined by a two-block radius surrounding the intersection of 52nd and Park, has resulted in his photographic work consistently seeking to explore interpretations of escape, vastness, and surreality found throughout the natural world. His work’s driving intention remains to rekindle our fascination for, appreciation of, and above all, a desire to conserve our only home.
3rd Annual GARNER Arts Center Members’ Exhibition
March 9 - April 7, 2019
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 9th at 7pm
Gallery Hours: March 16, 23, & 30 & Apr.6 - 1:00 - 5:00 PM
Join us for the opening of the 3rd Annual Members’ Exhibition.
To Become a Member, or to Renew Your Membership, please CLICK HERE.
Paintings by Sharon Falk
On View October 4 - December 27th in the Industrial Arts Brewing Company Tasting Room
Opening October 4th - Live Music with Robert Hill & Joanne Lediger
In the series of paintings I use the images of birds in an exploration of a moment of time that encompasses the source of light as knowledge, art and the lightness of spirit. It is the gesture of wild things, boldly emerging from places of containment or darkness into an awareness of discovery. They exist in a delicate moment of balance in space, and I seek to portray this energy even in stillness. I am interested in moments of expanded time, a gesture that is fleeting but remains in memory as infinite in its completeness. Through the images of wild things, birds in flight, animals in motion, I attempt to get close to their natural state of freedom. They embody the power in each of us in our relation to earthbound struggles, along a path that is both arcane and familiar in a timeless way. In exploring the aura around all things, I am drawn to that light from an unknown source, and the desire to pay attention to the vanishing language written on the land and all nature.
- Sharon Falk