Taymour Grahne Gallery is pleased to present “Try to Smoke It,” an exhibition of 8 painters, curated by Holly Coulis. "[Jasper] Johns's subjects are flat. Under an enormous literal representation of an unmistakable pipe Magritte wrote Ceci n'est pas une pipe. And to the puzzled spectator who mistakes the image for the reality, he would have said - Try to smoke it." Leo Steinberg, from "Jasper Johns: The First Seven Years of His Art", 1972 Within this group of painters, each makes work that sits somewhere along the spectrum from flat abstraction to flattened, abstracted representation. Each creates their own specific world of paint and image by using varying degrees of flatness, either via color or picture plane, to create some type of illusion. As in the case of both Johns and Magritte, the arena of the canvas is acknowledged, even as we are engaged with representations of three dimensional spaces. “Try to Smoke It” as a phrase takes us from the dream and disruption of illusion to playful, hallucinogenic imagination via the surface of a canvas.
Hannah Rose Dumes combines the genre of still life with collaged pictures in paintings that re-present imagery from beauty advertisements. The works maintain a glimmer of fashion photography, but Dumes creates a flattened out, hand-decorated world that is about dreaming, not purchasing.
Angela Heisch paints monolithic abstractions using a limited palette. We have the sense of architecture from her work, even if it is unfamiliar. She plays with space, depth and her own iconography to create anthropomorphic, funny, unsettling paintings.
Kerry Law’s seascapes are painted on site, in one sitting. His subject matter is in constant motion and the brevity of his paint strokes are apparent. In other more static areas, the paint is applied in broader, slightly gradated applications. The simplicity of the work is undermined by one’s sense of a wave held motionless. Danielle Orchard abstracts figures and their backgrounds into playful shapes, textures and colors. Her paintings are psychological spaces – contemplative, funny, humanistic. The images have a linear ease and immediacy, compounded by her complex use of color, form, and content.
Alan Prazniak paints romantic, fantastical landscapes. His brushstrokes add a delicacy and an energy to the colorful, almost play-doh like groupings of mountains, orbs, and eyeballs. Air, earth and water merge into one in these shimmering, almost psychedelic, dreamscapes.
Kanishka Raja, working in collaboration with a weaver in West Bengal, has translated his diagrammatic collusions of architectural drawings and sports fields markings into abstract, flat-color woven paintings. Part of a series called Lines of Control, the paintings reference the disputed military border between Indian and Pakistani controlled Kashmir. Raja is interested in how the works function as hybrid representations that “both define and restrict territory and reward or penalize movement within the same”.
Lumin Wakoa paints abstractions of specific memories. Embedded in these intimate works are impressions formed from experience and from stories. Wakoa uses the structure of familiar genres, like the still-life, to express a poetic, painterly sensibility. Her sense of a moment is overlaid onto the image, giving us an understanding of a very personal experience. On the back of each painting, Wakoa has written a poem.
Mitchell Wright uses layer upon layer of flat colored acrylic medium to make his paintings. In the finished pieces, there is a subtle 3D relief that creates actual light and shadow and disrupts the 2D perceptual tricks often used in op art. The paintings are lightly anchored to the real: folds that hint at an unmade sheet where someone once lay or a ripple on a wall from a science fiction horror movie. In other more dizzying paintings, the optical experience is reminiscent of staring at static or a magic eye.