Artist: Keith Mayerson
Venue: Freddy, Baltimore
Exhibition Title: Iconscapes
Date: January 10 – 31, 2015
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of Freddy, Baltimore
In a statement for this exhibition, the artist writes: I have a penchant for the unconscious, in part, perhaps because I am the son of a psychoanalyst. Since the late 1980’s, I have consistently attempted to realize iconic images from my subconscious into a more Renaissance plastic space than Gorky without “illustrating” dream worlds like Dali. I deem these works “Iconscapes.” The works at Freddy are collected from a period in 2012 (after an exhibition at Knoedler of my 90’s Iconscapes) when I was focused on making a new group of Iconscape paintings. This exhibition marks the first time these paintings will be exhibited as a single body of work (they were first exhibited next to figurative/narrative paintings at the second incarnation of “My American Dream” at Derek Eller Gallery in 2013). Iconscape paintings were also exhibited alongside figurative works in my room installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
In micromanaged moments of the old masters, I find that their imagery breaks apart into abstraction. With the modernists, the subject matter is sometimes not as important as what they projected into the subject matter. Strange eyes and anatomy appear in the negative space. There are “Cézanne holes” in the middle of his works where his head must have been located when he was painting.
If you look carefully you might see his eyes and teeth and beard in a landscape. This is also true of Van Gogh – cypress trees hold his unconsciously realized facial features. In my works, I hope to bring out what is abstract in the figurative, and what is representational in the abstract. I have always felt that Marx and Duchamp took us on a necessary, politically speaking, track away from Cézanne, Picasso, and Freud, but now there is room once again to explore notions of the unconscious. I Want to channel my subconscious into my paintings and make it “real.”
I think when we dream we dream in iconic, simplified, ghost-like forms, which we later identify as specific people and things… I have taught comics for many years, and think the power of the iconic cartoon is not only that it’s simplified so we can relate to it (like Scott McCloud states in his great book “Understanding Comics”), but also this is the language of our inner mind and how we perceive ourselves and others in memories, thoughts, and dreams. When Pollock was creatinging his drip works, he was dripping automatic psycho-sexual imagery and faces, but then layering over and over in his lattice work so the initial imagery would be obscured. I want to bring up that subconscious and have your mind vacillate between perceived and imagined worlds.
Link: Keith Mayerson at Freddy