Thursday, January 17, 2008

Gallery visit: Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Chelsea is known for representing artists who are not really mainstream but getting there. I personally like this gallery for the interesting, out-of-the-ordinary exhibits that have become their trademark. Most of the shows involve large scale paintings featuring fantastical environments straddling equal parts reality, absurdity, graffiti and comic. Their current three artist show is worth a visit.

The main room features Jonathan Viner. His paintings focus on themes of survival where individuals use aspects of their personality or environment to survive (I know this is a oft beaten artistic track, but his technique trumps stereotypes). The characters (mostly painted from live models) employ a variety of devices to survive : they run away from trouble, take stock of the world from afar, fight or strip naked. The paintings were a mixture of Weimar’s Otto Dix, Old Master imagery and psychoanalysis.

The project room featured two artists. Xiaoqing Ding from China and Esao Andrews from Arizona. I can’t seem to decide whose works I like better. Is it the Chinese lady’s works with its sexual innuendoes referencing mythology and fairytales done in a ‘cheap Chinese calendar’ style or was it the undertones of despair and brooding perpetuated by Esao’s paintings? - I am not sure, but, both the painters seem to have a lot of talent and imagination.

Xiaoqing Ding obtained her MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland and Esao Andrews has a BFA in illustration from SVA. Jonathan Viner has a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and is based out of New York.

Jonathan Viner, The Ladies' Demands, Oil on Panel, 48" x 36"

Jonathan Viner, The Courier's Kevlar, Oil on Panel, 36" x 24"

Jonathan Viner, Look Away III, Oil on Panel, 36" x 24"

Jonathan Viner, Look Away II, Oil on Panel, 36" x 24"

Jonathan Viner, Rinse, Repeat, Oil on Panel, 20" x 16"

Jonathan Viner, Madamoiselles de Hoboken, Graphite on Paper, 11” x 14”

Esao Andrews, Separate Lives, Oil on Wood, 32” x 24”

Esao Andrews, The Scourge, Oil on Wood, 24” x 16”

Esao Andrews, Thought, Oil on Wood, 32” x 19”

Xiaoqing Ding, Little Drop of Poison, Egg tempera, Silverpoint and Pastel on Paper, 40” x 32”

Xiaoqing Ding, Once Upon a Time, Egg tempera, Silverpoint and Pastel on Paper, 40” x 32”

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