Monday, September 28, 2015

New York Dispatch: John Seal at Gavin Brown Enterprise

       On my first night in New York City, I had the privilege to attend the opening of Los Angeles-based artist John Seal's solo show "I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence" at Gavin Brown Enterprise in the Bowery district. When you encounter Seal's work,there is a tension between the image that is shown and the color "form," that makes it presence known.

        Seal makes reference to "worlds" that are created by color, image and their histories. The works vary from each other. There are a series of works where the outline of a gold jacket are invaded by a bouquet of colorful shapes and flowery images that populate the surface of the jacket outline. The still life paintings rotate from the sculptural work portrayed to the invaded object covered with color forms in the same still life. In "Almost Flesh, Almost Love, and Almost Laughter." the porcelain sculpture of two lovers is placed with a copy of "Paradise Lost" and a print of George Seurat's "The Models." Then in "Looking Out From the Other Side of Dawn," the figurine of the two lovers in "Almost Flesh..." is invaded and covered with colorful brush strokes as if the sculpture was taken over by something unfamiliar and painterly.

        Seal explores the relationship between color, the object and representation. He uses the paint and the object to explore emotional and visual states of the world created on the picture plain. Thus he re-coordinates the world that he sees. Color is a ghost and the artist acts as an exorcist that extracts and reveals the possessed state of the painting and objects around him. However, the "histories" and paint negotiate with the artist and thus the paint is a give and take between the object, the image and the painting. This show is excellent.

John Seal
"I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence"
Open until October 25th

Gavin Brown Enterprise
291 Grand Street,
2nd Floor
New York, NY
(212) 627-5258

"I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence III"

"In the Nearly Infinite Distance Between the Gates of Heaven and Of Hell There Reigns A Chaos in Which the Word Cannot Separate Light and Dark - This is the Journey That Satan Partook When he Sought to Be by Man's Side"  

Contained but Still Bulging Out Here and There

I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence II

Looking Out from the Other Side of Dawn

"Almost Flesh, Almost Love, and Almost Laughter."

"I Upon My Frontiers Here Keep My Residence IV"

Metaphor of Earthly Care

Metaphor of Earthly Care (detail)


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