Anita Rogers Gallery is thrilled to introduce the work of Tristan Barlow and Hans Neleman in an upcoming two-person exhibition. The show, on view from January 10 through February 11, 2017 at 77 Mercer Street #2N, New York, will include original oil paintings from Barlow and mixed media assemblages from Neleman. Both artists embrace bold motifs, strong colors and a sense of the paradoxical, whether it be in the playful yet dark tone of the works, the frenetic yet balanced compositions or the elegant yet provocative nature of the forms.

Barlow (b. 1990, Jackson, Mississippi) studied at the New York Studio School with Carole Robb and at the University of Southern Mississippi before receiving his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art, London. The artist now lives and works in London. Barlow’s large-scale expressive works on linen are evocative explorations of spatial relationships, communication, color, shape and scale. On the recent works included in this exhibition, Barlow writes:

My paintings are visual fictions, constructs of spatial tensions. Painting is a collection point for thoughts, personal philosophies, and abstract notions of what I perceive to be the world. It is a physical process that involves an extensive relationship to heavy metals, newly synthesized pigments, and mysterious powders, and processes as old as the hills. It is the internet and the Ancient Egyptians pulled tightly into a collection of marks that delineate a visual experience and image. It is a space that exists on a surface and in space. Painting is a collection of paradoxes.

Through making a mark on a surface, scraping, scrubbing, destroying, and reconstructing, a painting becomes a fiction that requires a willing suspension of disbelief, a mythic narrative where the protagonist is a mark on a surface of the 2- dimensional picture place that holds infinite potential for visual spaces. I don’t know if either of these notions are tangible or real as much as they are mysteries or half-truths that I believe out of choice and necessity. I keep on the edges of truth and let the actions involved in painting become more imperative, more mythological in my mind.

Dutch-born photographer and artist, Neleman (b. 1960) studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths University in London. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Film & Photography and a Master of Arts Degree from New York University. He studied with Robert Mapplethorpe, Duane Michals and Arnold Newman. Neleman’s collaged works, in the tradition of Joseph Cornell, are put forth in distressed iron frames housing astute composites of old and new, found and created objects addressing sexuality, mortality and identity. On the assemblages, Neleman states:

The assemblages explore taboos, erotic symbolism, morbid beauty and the harmony of opposites between mortal and vital, revered and profane, myth and modern tale.

Found objects are re-appropriated and combined with layers of collaged and painted imagery, to create ‘portraits’ or 'abstractions' that aim to transfigure elements of darkness into an aesthetic realm.

Elements of myth always lie between perception and concept: they are signs. This perception—or, the image—is linked with something concrete, whereas the concept can refer to something else, and the potential metaphysical references are unlimited. David Henry Thoreau stated: “The question is not what you look at, it is what you see.”