Ear to the Ground
Mike Weiss Gallery is pleased to announce Ear to the Ground, a new series of paintings by Los Angeles based artist Christian Vincent. Ranging in size from an intimate 24" x 20" to an impressive 80" x 115", the series envelops viewers with an insidiously magnetic psychological power. In previous bodies of work, Vincent’s vast canvases depicted large numbers of figures standing in lines or moving en masse, revealing the unspoken mysteries underlying social behavior. This show, however, finds Vincent distilling his social preoccupations into scenes more solitary, dream-like, symbolic – resulting in a fascinating meditation on the space between conformity and desire.
In "Recurring Dream," a woman in the close foreground gazes up expectantly at a cluster of grapes dangling from a bower while, in the deep distance, children gather around what looks like a mound or knoll. In "Mid Summer," we feel the strong influence of Balthus as one red-clad girl lies languorously on the bank of a river, shading her eyes, her skirts gathered about her thighs. In images like "Monday" or "Tiny Boxes," young loners gaze portentously out into a vast distance (tract housing; a snowy mountaintop) evoking the sublime loneliness of Albert Pinkham Ryder. Man's ambivalent relationship to Nature fascinates Vincent almost as much as man's ambivalent relationship to man.
Vincent's day-for-night palette of pale golds, lurid blues, black-edged greens and strong, sunlit flesh tones suffuse his imagery in a kind of emotional twilight, opening a philosophical and contemplative conversation. Ultimately, we sense that social behavior is internalized; that we possess within us vast distances that are mysteries, even to ourselves.
Christian Vincent (b. 1966) currently lives and works in Los Angeles and has been widely exhibited throughout the United States. This will be the artist’s third solo show with the gallery.