Toomey Tourell Fine Art is pleased to present a group exhibition, entitled “Frequencies“, with new work by London based artist Michael Ajerman and Chicago based artist James Kao. The show opens June 3rd, and continues through June 30th. The opening reception with the artists is on Thursday, June 5th, from 5:30-7:30 PM.
Michael Ajerman, an American painter based in London, works within the tradition of British modernism while exercising his own blend of style and personal history. Educated (among other institutions) at the Slade London, his work often reflects his forebears, while also embracing his Jewish heritage as a direct influence on his style and subject matter. These influences range from his experience of his relatives being survivors of the Holocaust to Yiddish theatre and other cultural influences. The rich painterly brushwork and vibrant color utilized by Ajerman evokes the traditions of artists such as Lucien Freud, while the often grotesque aspects of his imagery reflect his ancestral heritage. The function of memory (and the imagination of the artist which ultimately transforms that memory), also plays an important role in his work – transforming experience by its re-telling with canvas and paint to create an entirely new and creative expression of that experience.
James Kao, currently teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, utilizes a repetition of imagery to fully explore representation and abstraction. In this exhibition, his paintings of oranges and tables (a motif Kao has been exploring for years), serve in his exploration of observing phenomena as a sequence, and as a process of looking inside and outside the observed subject. Citing the ‘Pier and Ocean’ drawings of Piet Mondrian as an inspiration, Kao also investigates the plus/minus aspect of representation versus abstraction. Often painting in the dark, these oils on linen evoke a kind of romanticism that explores the conventions of the medium, while at the same time tweaking these expectations. Or, in the artist’s words:
my paintings and drawings record direct and repeated observations. Each reiteration of similar motifs marks an increasing intimacy with the world and moves an observational practice closer to a private meditation.