CMay Gallery is pleased to present Continental Drift: a group show featuring Doug Edge, MB Boissonnault, Brad Howe, Irina Alimanestianu, Victor Wilde, and Amy Kaps. An opening reception will be held September 17th from 5:30 – 9:00 PM. The works will be on view through October 30, 2015.
Each of these artists are abstractionists, or at least abstract-adjacent; yet each of them maintains a special relationship with the figure and an elemental experience of place. Specifically, all of these artists are (or were) coastal dwellers living and working right at the point where the landmass of the country begins and ends — geographically, culturally, emotionally.
Where the land dissolves into the sea, that’s an abstract moment that exists within reality. Where individuals confront the scale of the ocean, the planet, the stars, the universe, that’s a liminal moment, psychologically abstract. And while this exhibition is mostly comprised of landscapes and interiors, these conditions also give rise to direct engagement between the imagination and the human form.
With examples of painting, works on paper, sculpture, installation, collage, photography, and performance art, Continental Drift examines porous boundary between nature and notion; the flirtations the external world has with abstract appearance; and finally, the degree to which both landscape and body manifest characteristics of ambiguity and abstraction in themselves.
Doug Edge: Edge’s large abstract paintings have been derived by various methods of reduction and redaction over the years, examining the ways in which abstract imagery is generated by a mind full of images. His recent works raise the stakes on this deconstruction of perception, juxtaposing two or even three panels of different compositions in varying states of pattern, scale, palette and resolution — seducing the optic mind into paying closer attention to each through a call and response that also activates pictorial space and anatomical avatars in unexpected ways. He lives and works in Venice.
: Producing oil paintings that are best described as abstract almost-oceans, Boissonnault’s is an extremely disciplined painting practice which can be understood as a decades-long battle between the forces of abstraction and representation. Drawn to epic weather patterns, chimerical sweeps of land and sea, and sometimes wryly surrealistic content that is already slightly beyond the pale of conventional imagery, Boissonnault creates a world of uneasy beauty that captivates and unsettles. She lives and works in Venice.
Amy Kaps: Kaps’ installation-based interdisciplinary performance, and a notable long-term collaboration with photographer Eric Schwabel, yield subtle and surreal interactive experiences which, as she puts it, “combine live action with multi-media to create something that is of the present. In this way, all the senses can be reached as well as the emotional and psychological synapses.” Her penchant for black and white stripes channels Op Art in a playful hard-edge abstraction, inserting the body — the female body in particular; the artist’s own body in particular — into the striking and witty optics of Modernism. She lives and works in Venice.
Irina Alimanestianu: Alimanestianu’s abstract landscape paintings on paper and on board give the viewer just enough of the world to ground them, but never enough to prove the world is real. “I am interested in the connection of our human consciousness to the world we live in,” reads her statement in part. “My process is to begin with marks, colors, shapes that build up into experiences of landscape, organic matter, or architectural constructs. Currently, I feel that people move comfortably between virtual worlds and the natural world — coming to an understanding that they are one and the same.” Her experiential abstractions of the psychological landscape are less about how things look and more how it feels to see them. She lives and works in Venice and New York.
Brad Howe: From this globally renowned sculptor aof colorful, curvilinear, geometrical public art, comes a pair of unique large-scale prints that have never been shown in the US. As noted critic Peter Frank said of his sensibility, “However pervasive and persistent Howe’s exuberance, it has its serious side. From the first, Howe has always taken his calling as an artist — an abstract artist — quite soberly, seeking poetry no less than punch line in his bumptious, unpredictable formulations.” These eccentric and graceful 2-dimensional compositions depict rather than occupy the architecture they engage; their choreographies of pattern, color, and contour ironically becoming less abstract with each fresh compression. Howe lives and works in Santa Monica and Malibu.
Victor Wilde: Wilde is the founder, art director, and chief designer of progressive punk-couture fashion and lifestyle label The Bohemian Society, known for hand-wrought one-of-a-kind garments. Even with the international success of this brand, Wilde’s first loves have always been visual and performance art, and thus not only does he approach fashion as an expressive, personal, and artistic undertaking, he makes visual art using the same sensibility. His large-scale mixed-media paintings employ his collage-based techniques of interpretive recombinance — a certain destroy-to-rebuild approach to generating meaning. He lives and works in Downtown LA, hailing from Canarsie.
CURATOR BIO: Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic, curator, and author based in Los Angeles. She is currently LA Editor for Whitehot Magazine, Arts Editor for Vs. Magazine, Contributing Editor to Art Ltd., and a contributor to the LA Weekly, Flaunt, Huffington Post, Montage, Desert Magazine, and KCET’s Artbound. She studied Art History at Vassar College, curates one or two exhibitions a year, publishes numerous monographic book and exhibition-based essays, and speaks in public with alarming frequency.