~ERIK DEN BREEJEN . . PIX FROM THE OPENING
ERIK DEN BREJEN – ‘THERE’S A RIOT GOIN’ ON’
OPENED MAY 1, 2014
the show runs thru JUNE 7, 2014
FREIGHT+VOLUME – 530 WEST 24 St, CHELSEA, NYC
this is his 4th solo show at FREIGHT+VOLUME, and the relationship has been a very happy one, if you can call these things, just from seeing the work, which has gone though several stages of experimentation over the years – to the full stride & depth of this show.
this show is not what it seems, and back again !!
the portraits, strange icons of 70s revolution all on their own, disappear into absolute abstract fields, in physical reality, i.e. real time viewing . . only the “down-sizing” scale effect of photography, and seeing the work through a camera lens – is keeping the subjects in focus, on this page . . in the gallery they are . . ‘puzzles’.
and then the pure abstraction and color field platform – is itself broken down in the other direction, as opposed to portraiture, you have colorful handwritten building blocks of text, songs and words that exert their own magic, and power.
detail: ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’.
it’s like these paintings have . . no beginning and no ending.
a concept all the more interesting to consider, since they are all based on hyper real portraits of actual people, composed of small building blocks of ‘word/text’ units.
the best thing I could say, is go experience this for yourself.
photography is not going to be the key to opening up this . . Pandora’s box of painterly tools.
the disappearing face, brings to the front, the very musical use of pure vibrant . . and, unpredictable COLOR. from a distance the text ‘slugs’ do not even factor in.
detail, ‘Harry Nilsoon’
this would be the face . . as you approach the ‘text’ elements, you can easily see from how the color is patterned and distributed, compositionally – that the words are very, very loaded. actually song lyrics – it’s like looking into a shimmering pool of . . . ‘thought’ water.
if you haven’t read . . .
the very colorfulpress release . . that accompanies this show, you should.
not only will it shed a lot of understanding on these paintings, and expand on their evolution and background – but it is ‘hands-down’ one of the best press releases ever put out there. it becomes instantly clear how a complex formalist painter like ERIK DEN BREEJEN has came to produce such a focused, emotionally deep – exhibit that touches upon many many issues, both visual and conceptual. it is really striving to capture – the big picture / the culture in flux – the 70’s.
what I mean is, I’m thinking . . one cannot underestimate the impact on an artist, when his home base, gallery – is so clued into his ‘journey’, and is able to articulate it so well – and bring it alive . . to disparate viewers.
from the press release:
“There’s a riot Goin’ On takes a commanding look back at the early 70’s and specifically
explores the lives and works of creative revolutionaries such as RICHARD PRYOR, HARRY NILSSON, MARVIN GAYE, JOAN BAEZ, and ALLEN GINSBERG, among others. Den Breejen investigates the role of the artist as messenger from another state of consciousness. These artists, comedians, musicians, poets, and rock stars channeled their inspiration to confront the rules and norms of their time . . .
His portraits revisit and transform their observations. His recent paintings tell a history that has been recorded, portrayed, lived and felt by these people. In this sense, his technique can be seen as a kind of time travel.”
this might be the first show in the history of art, where you actually have to have your friends view to the work through your iPhone camera, to see what’s really . . goin’ on !!
what can I say, gonna give the last word to . . MARVIN GAYE !!
ERIK DEN BREEJEN and NICK LAWRENCE at the opening.
Nick is the hands-on owner/director of FREIGHT+VOLUME, he’s been bringing the scene some pretty awesome art shows, and it’s he – who penned that awesome press release.
go see the show.
it’s a one-of-a-kind, hands-on eyes – kinda of last word, information graphics doesn’t scratch the surface – kind of art, word, people culture revolution . . game on, dish that paint, kind of thing . .
where the poetry of ‘song’ meets the poetry of pure ‘plastic’ formalism . . head on.
no explanations, or art history required.
PHOTOS: NANCY SMITH