Sam Lee Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition entitled Barely There by Los Angeles-based artist Jeff Gambill. This exhibition opens December 12, 2009 and closes January 23, 2010; the gallery will host a reception for the artist on Saturday, December 12, from 6 to 9 p.m. Barely There marks Gambill’s second solo show at the gallery.
Inspired by a recent sojourn to Japan, Jeff Gambill’s Barely There offers the viewer with a group of intimate oil paintings that explore the artist’s lifelong interest in capturing the transient experiences of life on canvas. Gambill – traveling through a country filled with the confluence of ancient and pop cultures – uses his memories of encounters as points of departure for this latest series of works. As the artist states, “the paintings . . . found their beginnings in Japan’s visual richness . . . a reflection in a pond or a stepping stones in the shadows of a garden, in the patterns of fabrics, the neon nightlife of Tokyo’s streets, or the elegant presentation of a formal Kaiseki dinner.” The resultant artworks oscillate from the meditative to the spontaneous, the humorous to the formal.
In Path (2009), faint droplet-like forms descend and appear as if they are on the surface of the canvas, creating a lyrical pattern caught in motion and time like a photograph. A Girl, Her Dog, Cherry Blossoms (2008) – a 6-by-8 in. oil painting with heavy impasto surfaces – emerges like a minimal field of melted strawberry ice cream; it’s a quirky and metaphorical piece, although no representational forms are present that allude to the title. In contrast, Barely There: Rain (2008), a 20-by-16 in. dark painting, is made up of individual lines running from side to side and up and down; the formal and stark quality of this work recalls kimono fabric or screen door patterns, hence projecting a Zen-like quality.
Central to Gambill’s art practice lies in his commitment to exploring issues of painting techniques, surfaces, and color. Always conscious of the nuances between these topics, Gambill challenges himself to operate with different styles, thus providing the viewer with an ever-changing perception to his work. Seen as a whole, the artworks in the exhibition may appear to be created by multiple artists; however, on closer inspection, the paintings contain solid characteristics that are consistent with the artist’s visual language expressed throughout his career.
Gambill was born in Oakland, California, and currently works and lives in Los Angeles. He received his MFA from UCLA in 1980. His work is in the collections of the Orange County Art Museum, Laguna Art Museum, Oakland Museum of California, and Carnegie Art Museum (Oxnard, CA).