Christopher Henry gallery is pleased to present a show of new work by New York artist Jesse McCloskey.
Continuing the thematic explorations of his previous work, McCloskey’s new show of paintings distills an evolving vision of the artist as spiritual medium and storyteller. In a series of paintings and woodcuts focused on the consecrated space of the artist’s studio, McCloskey illustrates a world in which the trial of the spirit takes center stage as his subjects—painters and their paintings-- grapple with the mythical process of transmutation, bringing the stuff of life into the work of art. Exuberant, allusive, and anxious, these paintings illustrate an abiding faith in the redemptive powers of the creation, even as they acknowledge the violence inherent in the act.
With his trademark formalism--vibrant color and swirling, layered shapes brought together through collage and bound up in a dense impasto of black—McCloskey offers up a bestiary of Americana in iconic form: Christ and the Serpent, Death and the Maiden, Pilgrims and Indians all play as subjects of the artists’ imagination, raging across canvasses within canvasses as protagonists in an archetypical narrative of light versus dark Alternately dreamy and nightmarish, turgid and stark, McCloskey’s paintings here embrace the role of the artist as medium between his fantasies and the rest of the world, and offer a privileged view into the “work” of art.