Izzy Barber, Tomory Dodge, Sky Glabush, Kristy Luck, Aaron Morse, James Morse, Laurie Nye, Curtis Talwst Santiago, Muzae Sesay, Lisa Sanditz, Sophie Treppendahl, Sung Jik Yang
Philip Martin Gallery is pleased to present, “Night Painting," an exhibition of works by 12 artists that investigate night as both idea and motif.
Writing with regard to her oil-on-canvas work, "Milo's Triptych," New York-based artist Izzy BARBER comments, "Painting at night releases me from the logic of daylight. My perception is blurred, feelings heightened and abstractions appear in the dark."
Los Angeles-based artist Tomory DODGE contributes to the exhibition, "Night Painting," his monumental oil-on-canvas work, "Dream." On the idea of working at night, Dodge writes, "Night can be thought of as a time of non-differentiation, when the senses distinguish less between objects, but the mind insists on perceiving forms all the same, whether they are actually present or not."
Canadian artist Sky GLABUSH, who lives and works in London, Ontario, presents a suite of framed watercolor-and-gouache-on-paper works. Glabush notes, "Painting, at least on the surface, is often concerned with describing space through color. It is almost completely indebted to light. Light is language and color: a vocabulary, a dialogue, an exchange. But in a painting of the nighttime or darkness light is no longer used as a means of describing contrasting forms. Paintings about the night offer an opportunity to explore a different type of light. Contrasts are flattened, forms meld into one another and space becomes ambiguous and dissolved. In some ways, painting the night leads to a kind of abstraction, but not one of clearly defined relationships jockeying for position; but rather what is left out or unseen. Rumi has a beautiful line that reads: 'That’s how you came here, like a star without a name. Move across the night sky with those anonymous lights.' What is the source of light in a painting about darkness? This description of anonymous light seems to capture the energy of a painting that is describing a light whose source is mysterious and which is not illuminating but rather humming with some mysterious, diffused, glow."
On her oil-on-linen works, Los Angeles-based artist Kristy LUCK notes, "I’m connecting this to the experience of stepping outside at night. The experience of darkness or of changing circumstance - not a loss but just a change. We adjust, perhaps we can navigate space relatively similarly as when we were inside or we proceed more carefully, accounting for change in ability or functionality. Our entire selves have to harmonize in a new way to navigate. This momentary breaking of “oh wait” (stepping out) is what I am connecting to my paintings. The persistent, “oh wait” - because even though night happens on a predictable cycle - still our mind can’t will our body out of its need to adjust. And that adaption chooses its own pace and even if it lasts just a second it can be what brings us back to the present moment. So this is emotional and physical and mirrors any kind of process of change or transformation or inquiry. Grief, birth, death, experiences tied to mortality. Night as a period that insists our mind and body connect even if it is brief. Night as a catalyst to activate this loop of looking as thinking."
Los Angeles-based artist Aaron MORSE is known for paintings and watercolors that deal with the breadth and complexity of history and landscape. Morse writes, "I remember first hearing the term 'nocturne' from American Art history class, and James A. M. Whistler's 1875 painting 'Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket.' It is a great word, and many artists and musicians employ it. In addition to being evocative, the subject of night and darkness is fascinating for me because of its challenge in terms of color. Black is only one solution. It's exciting to depart from the daytime world into the cooler end of the spectrum."
Upstate Michigan-based artist James MORSE notes, "Everyone is familiar with the magical feeling of the night, whether it is frightening, like monsters under the bed, or serene like a full moon's rise, or a friend's face illuminated by a warm fire. The allure of darkness comes from the absence of well-defined visual information. This absence is an invitation for the mind to imaginatively supplement the few clues that are available for the eyes to see in order to create a full picture of comprehension. Looking in the dark is a beautiful collaborative act, where the mind is filling in the visual void of our understanding of what is around us. When painting nocturnes, I am mimicking the dynamics of this phenomena. I aim to paint sparsely, providing just a little information to guide the wandering mind towards a definite subject while withholding substantial information to enable a very open reading to the viewer's imagination. This regulated use of shape and color walks the line between abstraction and figuration, and erasure plays a large part in editing out unnecessary visual information. For me, it seems to be more successful the less I think about it in an intellectual sense. I try to feel my way through the darkness, rather than thinking in a calculated way about how much information to add or remove. This way I have more success creating something that possesses sufficient room for the viewer's mind to play and read the image in a free and enjoyable way."
Memphis Tennessee-born, Los Angeles-based Laurie NYE, writes about the oil-on-linen work she choose for the show, "Night Apparition," that her painting, "is part of an ongoing series of the local park in my native Tennessee. My studies of the park is tied closely with my relationship to my mother and hold personal metaphors in relation to time and a sense of place. For 'Night Apparition,' I explored color relationships less from a naturalistic palette and more from an expressionist lens. Color, for me, is an evocative way to explore memory and presence. The use of color in my work often alludes to my artistic influences (Nabis, Impressionists, German Expressionists, Symbolists, etc)."
Lisa SANDITZ lives and works in upstate New York. She writes that, "I have spent twenty years painting the landscape as a reflection of cultural values, finding stories in the messes we’ve made and uncanny glimmers in the spaces we shape and traverse. I often work on large complex narrative paintings that are sparked from absurd, joyous and painful stories that may be personal or encountered in the news cycle. They are often situated in the landscape, but sometimes make their way into the interior. When working from life, I make drawings and take photographs on site in the performative plein-air tradition, 'Shh… look she’s painting...' In these small paintings, I work out color explorations and find moments of solace and clarity - a brief break from zooming and parenting and teaching and worrying and cleaning and protesting. I live and work in New York’s Hudson Valley, an area notable for its historic Hudson River school paintings, jammed with squeaky-clean realism, macho colonialism and epically lush views. My small landscape colors studies are unabashedly romantic and dazzling color studies of places mostly close to home. Then I return to the studio and recreate altered versions of the scene, where the spaces and saturated colors invert and bleed and disorient. 'Night Walk,' (2022) was painted after one of a few walks in the woods with my friends during the pandemic. This quiet and mysterious time together was a balm to the varied challenges of daily life."
"Night Painting" features a detailed diorama by Canadian-born, Munich, Germany-based artist Curtis Talwst SANTIAGO. His sculptural piece, "These Walls," (2017-2022) is fashioned from a reclaimed jewelry box, clay, plastic, tin, acrylic paint, oil paint and wool. Santiago's work depicts activities at night, what happens in 'these walls:' love, wakefulness, rest, meditation, conversation; these walls are a place of dreams, vision and contemplation. Santiago's work often addresses transformation as a means by which to know and find ourselves, to discover in some sense what is already there, yet perhaps unknown. In Santiago's work, the night is a time of transformation, a time of dreams, a time of individual subjectivity, and coming together.
Oakland, California-based artist Muzae SESAY contributes to "Night Painting" the monumental work, "Goodnight West Oakland, Love 980," (2022). Sesay, comments, "The night provides this wonderful opportunity to explore a range of emotions where the daylight would struggle. There is a mystique to the night that lays heavy weight on the atmosphere. A sense of unknowing brings me in towards the unseen, a sense of drama might keep me there. Colors humbled by darkness create shy and timid shape that were, at one time screaming vivid truths, now unsure. It just takes a little more effort to navigate in black. I paint the night as if the past decade has progressed in the span of a day. I started in the day, slowly moved later into the evening, and now I’m in the dead of night. The fear, in this case, is not the absence of light, but instead the uncertainty of what tomorrow brings. One moment the sunrise is on the brink of the horizon, and the next moment the weight of the night pushes the sun back down. I’m here now and the questions veiled in the darkness excites me to stay awhile." On the 980 Sesay comments, "As infrastructure built up to divide and maintain a community, the 980 works in the night; not as freeway but as roof, not as gateway but as gate. Here, the night is shrouded in mischievous marks of tilted innovation. Homes destroyed to move people from their homes to the next now become home to the houseless left to eat the sun. Now we have nothing but a big red line slashed through the worlds of equal prosperity and a glorified boulevard. Above, an orange glow and the night hum of passing electricity fill the sky with energy. One might say it’s that energy that causes problems so we never really let it get that dark. The circus, the irony, the hypocrisy all around feels like a 10 ton anvil crashing down above only to land on a coil and spring away off-screen. We’re all part of the joke I guess. However. melancholy the active night, this painting represents the light that is to come. Positioning itself as future folklore of world's past, 'Goodnight West Oakland, Love 980' is a mantra for the push forward. As we fight to heal wounds and remove old scars, I want to remember all directions of empathy. I want to remember all that was done here."
New Orleans, Louisiana-based artist Sophie TREPPENDAHL says of her oil-and-acrylic-on-canvas, "At night, darkness blankets over everything and creates a rich monochromatic environment, forcing our eyes to adjust. Only after sitting in a darkened room for a while do the colors and shadows start to emerge. I first became interested in painting nighttime from seeing this small vibrant blue painting by Daniel Heidkamp called 'JSC Blue.' I was astounded that a singularly colored painting could be so colorful, lively and true to life. From there, I fell in love with the night paintings of Lois Dodd, Alex Katz and Josephine Halvorson. For this show, I interpreted two of my own previously warm, bright paintings as their blue evening counterparts. In the works, the moonlight and streetlights stream through the paintings, acting as the sun, casting cool light onto sleepy spaces."
Korean-born, Los Angeles-based painter Sung Jik YANG contributes to the show, "Last Night in Paris," a work depicting a recent trip with his partner Joanne to Paris. "As a portrait painter, I capture the immediate appearance of people that I paint. I love their spontaneous image and I try my best to present my interpretation of the human subject. Interestingly, I have noticed that portraying people I know very well brings me a different perspective. The paintings of Joanne (my partner) are unique in that they capture the emotion and feelings that I have for her along with the essence of a portrait. In June 2022, we traveled to Paris, Joanne's dream city. Throughout the trip, I was sick and Joanne took care of me, and we couldn't travel properly. It was our last night in the city and we had just returned to our rooftop apartment after spending an evening at a jazz cafe in Montmartre."
Philip Martin Gallery is located at 2712 S. La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90034 in the Culver City area of Los Angeles between Venice Blvd. and Washington Blvd., just south of the 10 Freeway.
Philip Martin Gallery is open Tuesday - Saturday from 10-5. For additional images, or information please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 310-559-0100.
There will be an opening for "Night Painting" Saturday, September 24 from 5-7pm.