Currently at the Perlow-Stevens Gallery, one can find the works of Joel Sager. His work is unique in a field that can often be dominated by mediocrity and slick commercialism. Many of his paintings speak of process, time, and impart an importance to the mundane that is reminiscent of the Pop Art of Warhol yet still manages to maintain an adherence to the painterly tradition that is refreshing.
There is a certain whimsy in many of his works that is cleverly married with just a whisper of ominous undertones that leaves the viewer questioning the nature of the implicit narrative that dominates much of his work. From the artist’s website:
Fascinated by the rural life that surrounds him, Sager presents a dark perspective of such imagery, juxtaposing the seemingly mundane and lifeless with subtle allegory and vitality. Sager’s work serves as a redemptive and simultaneously disquieting examination of the sometimes deep effectiveness and other times absurdity of existence. from: http://www.joel-sager.com/index.php?/bio/
We are presented with just a glimpse of a person or an object or a scene that engages with strong, iconographic lines and beautifully rendered forms that slowly give way to a percolating sense of the macabre.
The images in this post fail to convey the intricacy of the surface qualities. In many of his paintings, the support is layered with textures that will not adequately translate into the digital medium. The best way that I can describe the work is to say that the surface qualities are similar to Richter’s later abstract paintings–very multilayered with subtle nuances–and the iconographic style is, to some degree, reminiscent of Max Beckmann all of which are amalgamated with a healthy dose of provincialism.
Joel Sager’s work is on exhibit through June 27th at Perlow-Stevens Gallery. Stop by if you have a chance and check it out. It’s well worth the visit.