David Richard Gallery Presents An Exhibition of Contemporary Paintings and Objects That Nod to the Exuberant Style of the Baroque Period, But With a Twist

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Lush, exuberant, gilded – not words often associated with contemporary art. However, the artists in the “New Baroque” exhibition take new approaches to cutting edge materials and transform them into something decadent and unexpected.

Vadim Stepanov, David Richard Gallery, DR Projects

Vadim Stepanov, Faust - The Tavern, 2015, Oil on plywood, 56" x 47"

Characterized by high drama, tension, and exuberance, the style we know as ‘Baroque’ originated early in the 17th century and remained the dominant mode of expression throughout the Western world for more than 100 years. It offered a vehicle of expression for art, architecture and music that had a visual appeal easily grasped by all. It was an Over-The-Top style that allowed for the grand gesture and possessed an ability to convey dynamic movement and energy in both formal and narrative terms.

David Richard Gallery is delighted to present “New Baroque – The Imperfect Pearl”, an exhibition of contemporary paintings, ceramic sculptures and gilded found objects that suggest an influence of the Baroque period with lush materials and flamboyant style. The presentation will feature artworks by Monte Coleman, Chris Collins, Laila Farcas-Ionescu, Angela Fraleigh, Erik Gellert, Catherine Howe, Ted Pim and Vadim Stepanov from March 11 – April 23, 2016 with an opening reception on Friday, March 11 from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. The gallery’s new location is at 1570 Pacheco Street, Suite A1, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505, phone 505-983-9555 in the midtown neighborhood art and design district.

“In many ways it was ‘action painting’ long before the Abstract Expressionists appeared on the scene,” says gallery co-director David Eichholtz. “Artists of the Baroque era sought to capture motion, to freeze frame the action. The artists in “New Baroque” are channeling that spirit and energy.”

The etymology of ‘Baroque’ is said to derive from the Portuguese ‘perola barroco’ – an imperfect pearl. These pearls are prized for the unique beauty in their imperfection. So, too, with art. The Golden Mean is boring. Excess is exciting. As Oscar Wilde wrote: ‘Moderation is a fatal thing. Enough is as bad as a meal. More than enough is as good as a feast.’ Let us then feast.

About the Artists:

Angela Fraleigh’s work draws upon Baroque and Rococo paintings, soft, delicate renderings of mythology and the boudoir where the female form served as an objectified element. These figures are excised from the original compositions, removing their narrative source and imposed eroticism, giving them a new life and identity. No longer adornments, they become protagonists in a story of gender and new relationship contructs.

Catherine Howe references the subject matter of the Dutch Baroque and harnesses the energy within. However, that energy is not limited to composition alone, but is made manifest in the variety of traditional and experimental materials and supports that she employs. These disparate elements are combined in an aggressively gestural manner that obscures the subject and objectifies the resultant work. These paintings are almost more about process than in transposing an image, as Howe engages in what she calls ‘a swooning, painterly perfection.’ She continues: ‘The unexpected behavior of the surfaces and materials help to thwart my sure hand and prevents mere “depiction”, something I truly want to avoid.’

Materially and compositionally Vadim Stepanov’s paintings are rooted in the earlier styles of the Northern Renaissance. Yet these intensely vibrant and darkly psychological works convey an almost psychedelic experience. Swirling figures, hellmouths, strange goings-on explode across the surface, creating a kaleidoscopic visual effect.

Ted Pim’s ethereal paintings reference old master portraiture. He began his painting career creating mural-scale works in the dark recesses of abandoned breweries, factories and schools, places where few, if any, got the chance to experience the work. The distorted physiognomies rendered in ghostly tonalities emerge from a nearly black expanse to create a poetic, almost funereal imagery, channeling Goya and Francis Bacon.

Despite the seemingly macabre subject matter, Monte Coleman’s skulls and bones possess a whimsical quality that is inviting, rather than threatening. Neither in scale or form are they accurate representations of human, animal or ornithological anatomies, but are suggestive of structures.

Drama and whimsy are also evident in Laila Farcas-Ionescu ceramic sculptures, where exotically costumed figures act out an unknown narrative in a modern day Mystery Play. The rich surfaces add to the sense of extravagance and visual performance.

Erik Gellert’s new body of ceramic work comprises undulating surfaces that continually break the planes, protruding and receding. There is an organic feel to the works, suggestive of coral or even skeins of yarn. The suggestion of chance is belied by a overall rhythm to the surface and the use of acrylic paint, as opposed to traditional glazes, provides control over the coloration. The monolithic shape lends an insistent presence to the spatial environment.

Chris Collins finds inspiration in the expansive desert wastes surrounding Santa Fe, scouring the landscape for the detritus that people donate to the environment: tin cans, cartridge boxes, oil drums, signs, automobile parts, and other flotsam and jetsam. Scoured by the elements and ‘transformed’ by the desire to shoot at things, Collins rescues these cast-off objects for a higher purpose. With a sculptor’s eye he identifies an underlying aesthetic and while respecting nature’s patination, begins to introduce his own hand through the application of gold, silver and copper leaf. The resultant works possess a glow that appears to shine from within. There is quite a bit of alchemy in the process.

About David Richard Gallery:
David Richard Gallery is located at 1570 Pacheco Street, Suite A1, Santa Fe, NM 87505, P: 505-983-9555. Since its inception the gallery has produced museum quality exhibitions that feature Post War abstraction in the US. The presentations have addressed specific decades and geographies as well as certain movements and tendencies. While the gallery has long been recognized as an important proponent of post-1960s abstraction—including both the influential pioneers as well as a younger generation of practitioners in this field—in keeping with this spirit of nurture and development the gallery presents established and very new artists who embrace more gestural and representational approaches to the making of art as well as young emerging artists.

In 2015 David Richard Gallery launched DR Projects to provide a platform for artists of all stripes—international, national, local, emerging and established—to present special solo projects or to participate in unique collaborations or thematic exhibitions. The goal is to offer a fresh look at contemporary art practice from a broad spectrum of artists and presentations.

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