Can I touch it?
A true history of human events would show that a far larger proportion of our acts are the result of sudden impulse and accident than of that reason of which we so much boast.
I have had to tell people not to touch works of art on multiple occasions. The desire to fondle, rub, squeeze and pinch is hard to discourage. Sometimes people flick and knock on things. Why? Where is their sense of decorum? Apparently the old adage “with your eyes, not your hands” was not conveyed to them in grade school. Still—I get it. I want to touch too.
The artists featured in this exhibition: Alec Egan, Mandy Lynn Ford, Bobby Mathieson, Sophia Narrett, and Mette Tommerup all create works that beg to be tactically explored. From overt non-traditional two-dimensional medium to thick and trompe l’oeil applications of paint, each work speaks to surface, texture and material narrative.
Artist Sophia Narrett speaks about the relationship between her storytelling and the use of a fiber medium:
“I transitioned from oil paint to embroidery by chance in 2010. I had some thread in my studio to experiment with and I was so attracted to its materiality that it seemed natural to try making a simple outline drawing in thread. From there I fell in love with the process. Rather than learning technical stitches I began to improvise and paint with the thread. By using improvisational stitching and making photocollages as reference material, I was able to render images in thread. Embroidered images are immediately intimate, visually tactile, and accessible. These associations have become important to me as I create narratives of love and self-actualization. I think of embroidery (and its implicit history) as helping to specify the tone that my stories are told in, one characterized by obsession, desire, and both the freedoms and restraints of femininity.”
Mandy Lyn Ford references 1990’s Nickelodeon television through explosive energy and humor. Part wall relief, part painting, part sculpture, each work presents a playful interpretation of abstract art.
Ford’s extreme impasto paintings are simultaneously creatures, game boys, and desserts. Tirelessly layered cakes, soaked, dyed, covered in glitter, cut and then bonded back together, they look as though they would melt if placed them in the sun. Artist Mette Tommerup creates heavily layered works that address the social media culture zeitgeist.
Tommerup states: “Emojis pop up playfully corrupting expressionist metanarratives in my latest paintings. Larger canvasses and heavy application of oil paint allow for an arena to further mock Nordic Angst, and make stabs at the culture of irony as well as interfere with preconceptions of contemporary painting today.”
Bobby Mathieson captures historically or culturally significant moments in his work, and expands on the emotional content through his paintings and imagery through the use of vibrant shocking color and form. Positioning historically and culturally significant subjects within a visceral and highly textured figurative expressionism, Mathieson’s paintings reflect the emotional complexity shaping his relationship to these figures through a portraiture that is at once provocative, grotesque and deeply reverent.
The intuitive use of brushstroke and palette knife creates a sense of controlled chaos, marking the works with the rhythm and immediacy of their production.
Artist Alec Egan is a Los Angeles based painter. His thick impastoed figurative paintings are strikingly banal interior scenes. The interior spaces his paintings depict are premised on a fictitious memory— willfully playing on tropes of nostalgia. There are moments of clarity in the messy compositions. Particular objects begin to stick out and become repeated across his various canvases. This repetition allows the items to garner their own strength and intensity, despite their mundane status—pair of socks or plants on a windowsill are distilled into something melancholic and profound. Egan’s background as a creative writer and lover of poetry resonates in the quiet irony of each of his works.
Mindy Solomon gallery is proud to host Can I Touch It an exhibition that encourages the viewer to exercise impulse control while delighting in surface and narrative exploration.
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About the Artists
Sophia Narrett lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She was born in 1987 in Concord, MA. She received her MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BA in Visual Arts from Brown University. She has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Museum of Arts and Design, and Lux Art Institute. She has had solo exhibitions at Freight + Volume in New York, Space Gallery in Portland, ME and Jordan Faye Contemporary in Baltimore, MD. Her work has been included in group shows at 315 Gallery, Mixed Greens, Cindy Rucker Gallery, Nancy Margolis Gallery and Arcilesi & Homberg Fine Art in New York, the Museum Rijswijk in the Netherlands, and Kunstforeningen GL STRAND in Copenhagen, Denmark. Her work is included in the collection of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, and has been featured in New American Paintings.
Mette Tommerup is a painter based in Miami. Recent exhibitions include Tipping Points at The Patricia and Philip Frost Museum, Ping Pong Exchange Exhibitions is Basel, Los Angeles and Miami and exhibitions at Emerson Dorsch Gallery in Miami. Honors include acquisition of work through the Art Purchase Program at The American Academy of Arts and Letters in NYC. Tommerup’s work can be found in the permanent collection of Perez Art Museum Miami and multiple private collections.
Her work has been included in the publications Miami Contemporary Artists and Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze and exhibitions have been reviewed in Art in America, artnet.com and the Miami Herald among other journals. Mette Tommerup is on the Art Basel Miami Beach junior host committee and participates in the ABMB Visit the Artist Studios events annually in December. She is additionally a National Reviewer for applicants for The National Young Arts Foundation. Previous academic experience includes managing the painting studios at Florida International University in Miami and teaching MFA and BFA students as an assistant painting professor. Mette Tommerup received an MFA degree from The School of Visual Arts, NYC in 1995. Her work is represented by Emerson Dorsch Gallery, Miami, FL.
Mandy Lyn Ford lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. She has a Bachelor of Fine Art from UCLA, Los Angeles, CA. Her recent exhibitions include: Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, FL [forthcoming]; SPRING/BREAK, New York, NY (2017); yours mine & ours, New York, NY (2016); TSA LA, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Somewhere in LA, LTAC, Los Angeles, CA (2016); Momenta Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2016); Platform Gallery, Baltimore, MD (2015); Vanity Projects, New York, NY & Miami, FL (2015); Life on Mars Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (2015 & 2014); & Novella Gallery, New York, NY (2014).
Bobby Mathieson is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School (degree in Classic Animation) and Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in British Columbia (BFA). He has had numerous solo exhibitions with Neubacher Shor Contemporary in Toronto, ON and has presented his work at art fairs such as Art Toronto, Art Southampton, AQUA Art Fair in Miami, FL and VOLTA in New York. His work has also been featured in the Art With Heart auction as well as auctions at Angell Gallery. Bobby Mathieson lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
Alec Egan is a Los Angeles based painter. His thick impastoed figurative paintings are strikingly banal interior scenes. The interior spaces his paintings depict are premised on a fictitious memory— willfully playing on tropes of nostalgia. There are moments of clarity in the messy compositions. Particular objects begin to stick out and become repeated across his various canvases. This repetition allows the items to garner their own strength and intensity, despite their mundane status. A pair of socks or plants on a windowsill are distilled into something melancholic and profound.