Lyons Wier Gallery is pleased to present Sovereign, Aaron Nagel’s first solo exhibition with the gallery and in New York City.
Sovereign exemplifies Nagel’s enduring admiration for classical oil painting, its medium and traditions, and employs them to create lush renderings of the female form. Along with his stringent adherence to technique and impeccable deftness of hand, a large part of Nagelʼs process is to seek out models and venues that communicate a distinct emotive reaction. Once selected, the inherent nature of the muse and how they interact with the location plays an important role with the ensuing compositions. For Sovereign, Nagel used a dilapidated yet inhabited townhouse painted and furnished in all black to assist in communicating a foreboding sense of self-imposed solitude.
Technical prowess aside, Sovereign incorporates iconography developed and implemented in Nagel’s last two bodies of work, Marks and A Thin Line, whereby he alludes to his perspective towards organized religion. The most obvious icons are the halo and the Fifth Holy Wound (found on the side of Jesus Christ's chest, where, according to the New Testament, the Holy Lance pierced Christ’s body to confirm he was dead). Via this iconography, the seemingly languid and leisurely repose of the female models transcend the sexualized overtones, nodding towards controversial concepts like the Divine and/or Sacred Feminine. The religiosity in Nagel’s work questions Western and Eastern philosophies both sacred and secular.
Born 1980 in San Francisco, CA, Aaron Nagel began drawing as a child and gradually made his way to painting. Upon discovering oils in his early twenties, he became enamored with the medium and has been obsessed with the medium ever since. Although Nagel has had no formal training, he continues to relentlessly pursue a mastery of figurative realism from his home in Oakland, CA.