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Les yeux sans visage eyes without a face
Les yeux sans visage eyes without a face
 
Bil ly Idol
 

 
…the imprisonment of being a gi rl\, the way it made your mind active and dreamy\, and how you ended up kno wing which colors went together. We knew that the girls were our twins\, th at we all existed in space like animals with identical skins…
< br />Jeffrey Eugenides\, The Virgin Su icides
 

 
This exhibition of new pain tings from Brad Spence suggests memories of flipping through the pages of m agazines. Spence’s largest series to date\, the works conjure a distinct er a of recent history- the late 80s and early 90s. 
 
Women an d men look to fashion magazines for doses of fantasy.  In the pages are glo ssy portrayals of luxury\, travel\, society\, and a life lived on a large\, romanticized scale.  We internalize these images and are inspired to creat e something out of ourselves\; acting as both the subject and the object\, creating a visual vocabulary which aspires to certain lifestyles.  There is always desire at the root of creating an image- a desire to possess\, to c ontrol\, to become.  
 
The paintings tell the story of a yo ung man’s gaze in an attempt to understand the mystery he finds intrinsic i n women\; that specific essence described as female\, which he cannot relat e to but can only observe from a distance.  In these paintings\, Spence cul ls archetypical memory of adolescence\, and the coming of age for a young m an.
 
There is a departure in the style of painting from his previous work which was painted all in airbrush\, and imparted a seamless surface of images that were representational and out of focus.  For this bo dy of work\, Spence wanted to break free of his previously self-prescribed rules\, which included not showing his hand on the canvas.
 
Throughout the show intentional mark making appears in the form of smudges and finger painting.   The finger painting is representative of the Touch\ , a violation of the hand.  The smudge references the body\, and mark makin g suggests a similarity to makeup.  Where once\, a seamless surface spoke o f dreams\, memories and psychological space\; the newer work suggests concr eteness\, the introduction or intrusion of the real.  Spence allows a paint erly vocabulary to come into the work\; and along with it\, numerous art hi storical influences.
 < br />Color in this series also plays a hug e part in the conversation.  In place of the muted pastels Spence once work ed with\, he now chooses bold and severe contrasts\, also introducing his u se of fluorescent color.  The paintings are graphically influenced by mtv m usic videos\, album covers\, graphic design\, teenage girl’s fashion\, burl esque and a jumble of painting styles.
 
Spence speaks throu gh the imagination of a teenage boy coming of age and bearing witness\, thr ough a distance\, to the idealization of femininity.  It is an unsophistica ted and exoticized prism by which gender is stereotyped\, admired\, fetishi zed and desired.

DTEND:20130406 DTSTAMP:20141227T032658 DTSTART:20130302 GEO:34.0276049;-118.4678444 LOCATION:Shoshana Wayne Gallery\,Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Ave.\, B1\n Santa Monica\, CA 90404 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:of Age\, Brad Spence UID:259689 END:VEVENT BEGIN:VEVENT DTEND:20130302T190000 DTSTAMP:20141227T032658 DTSTART:20130302T170000 GEO:34.0276049;-118.4678444 LOCATION:Shoshana Wayne Gallery\,Bergamot Station 2525 Michigan Ave.\, B1\n Santa Monica\, CA 90404 SEQUENCE:0 SUMMARY:of Age\, Brad Spence UID:262269 END:VEVENT END:VCALENDAR