Edge: Contemporary Figurative Paintings
Still Life with Two Bottles and a Wrong Painting That Say Hallo,
2015, Acrylic, paper and spray on canvas, 73.75" x 55"
Copyright © Michele Bubacco
Figuration can do many things. It can reflect the visual reality of the world around us, it can tell stories or it can create stories. The five artists presented in the David Richard Gallery’s Edge: Contemporary Figurative Paintings are doing a little bit of all three and some at the same time.
Michael Dixon Let Me Say That We Have Failed To Say Something To America Enough, 2015 Oil on canvas 20 x 20 x 1.5" Copyright © Michael Dixon
The self-portraits of Michael Dixon interweave both political and personal identity, with humor and pathos existing side by side. Rendered in a masterful academic style, his work speaks to the issues surrounding his being of mixed race and the identity confusion they entail. In other works there is a political timeliness, subtly referencing the marginalization of African Americans. All this makes for a powerful challenge to the viewer.
Esteban Cabeza de Baca Dance, 2015 Oil on canvas 72" x 72" Copyright © Esteban Cabeza de Baca
The large-scale, colorful paintings of Esteban Cabeza de Baca combine figuration with abstraction as a platform for exploring his Native American ancestry. There are myths and mysteries that are more intuitively experienced than divined.
Michele Bubacco Paesaggio Italiano in 6 Frammenti, 2014 Oil on paper 27.5" x 118" Copyright © Michele Bubacco
The works of Michele Bubacco present a ‘story line’ of indeterminate Hogarthian activity and apparent dissolution. While there is no beginning and no end to this non-narrative, the images may be considered the opening scenes to an enigmatic maelstrom of discomfort, furthering the sense of darkness and mystery.
Michael Scott 111, 2013 Transparent pigment on stainless steel 68" x 48" Copyright © Michael Scott
Michael Scott explores the landscapes, the culture and the legends of the American West. In the series Found he conflates the religiosity of Catholic imagery with more profane subject matter. Painted in transparent pigment on steel panels, the resultant image is difficult to discern at first, but becomes more disturbing as it reveals itself.
Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave Dookie Braids High Yella Heffa Throwing Shade!, 2016 Acrylic on canvas 12.5" x 12" Copyright © Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave
Equally disturbing are the paintings by Jeffrey Spencer Hargrave, an African-American artist who reconfigures racist stereotypes in caricature form. Aggressively painted to reflect the harshness of the subject matter. Like Dixon, Hargrave forces us to confront some very troubling and ugly truths about ourselves.