Currently, Thierry Goldberg Projects (5 Rivington Street, New York) plays host to the charming 3-person show Here We Aren’t, So Quickly. All three artists – Guy Ben-Ari, Krisjanis Kakins-Gorsline and Hiroyuki Nakamura – play with figurative painting, pushing against reality through abstraction or manipulation of visitor gaze. The work will be on view through September 5, 2010.

View more work from Here We Aren’t, So Quickly, and read what the gallery has to say about it, after the jump.

While the work of Krisjanis Kaktins-Gorsline often depicts figurative forms, many of his subjects seem dislocated or pulled apart by abstraction. While something of the recognizable remains, be it hands, hair, or shoes, the figure is never complete, and seems to be disintegrating into drapery, splashes of color, shape and line. These dark, humorous, dynamic paintings lend themselves to continual re-examination, where the image at once alludes to something more than itself, only to revert back to flat applications of mere paint. The figure is complicated by a myriad of implications, at once invoked and erased, as much mutilated as it is liberated. A feeling of absence and emptiness resounds against the recognizable, with subjects on the verge of departure, leaving a flurry of paint and abstracted silhouettes in their wake.

In the work of Hiroyuki Nakamura, the iconic images of the American West are distorted and re-presented on the peculiar dreamscapes of his canvases. With his tiny brushwork and obsessive detail, Nakamura conjures vivid caricatures of cowboys, farmers and rodeos. The paintings depict scenes whose elements are arranged almost like a stage set or a tableau. Delving into the fantastically subjective, into a strange, hilarious, whacky world inhabited by grotesque figures and charged objects, all of which seem to piece together a story, but one whose parts don’t quite fit together; open-ended like an unfinished puzzle.

Not unlike Nakamura, the role that images play in relation to subjectivity is a prevalent theme in the work of Guy Ben-Ari. With the immediacy and deceiving simplicity his comic-book style provides, his paintings are constituted by other paintings. In this sense the work is reminiscent of the painting Galerie de Vues de la Rome Moderne by Giovanni Paolo Panini, and yet here the images depict a myriad of other images, not for the purpose of conveying the historical, but so as to inform the interior world of the individual. The very act of viewing comes into focus, so that the onlooker regards him or herself under the pretext of, or in the context of, looking at art. As a result painting becomes less of an escape into another world, and more a hall of mirrors, where the act of perception is self-perpetuating, perhaps solipsistic. This may again seem claustrophobic, but what it ultimately suggests is that if images are rampant and never-ending in terms of their reiteration, then they are continually there to be reinterpreted, recreated. While such multiplicity may seem to endanger a sense of certainty, it also allows for the free-play of the imagination.

GUY BEN-ARI b. 1984 in Israel and currently lives and works in New York. He is an MFA candidate at Columbia University. His work has been recently shown at 6-8 Months Project Space, New York; the Miriam & Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, New York; and at P8 Gallery, Minshar Gallery, and Dollinger Gallery, all in Tel-Aviv, Israel.

HIROYUKI NAKAMURA b. 1977 in Japan and currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He received his MFA from the School of Visual Arts. His recent solo exhibitions include “The Sky Above” at Thierry Goldberg Projects and “Are You a Cowboy or … Jesus?” at Gilfélagid, Iceland. His work was also included in group shows at The Bronx Museum, NY; Japan Society, New York; PS122 Gallery, New York; Gallerí Ágúst, Reykjavík, Iceland; and Frey Norris Gallery, San Francisco.


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