James Lassen presents Textual Healing, a show of representational paintings and drawings about modern communication 5 years in the making. The show runs from Saturday, January 31 to Sunday March 8th with a reception for the artist tol be held Saturday, January 31 from 6:00 p.m. 9:00 p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.
The show title is both a pun on the classic Marvin Gaye song "Sexual Healing" as well as nod to text messaging and how it has enriched (or at least affected) our lives and the lives around us. Each work is equally multi-faceted in its use of humor and seriousness as well its combination of hard-edged and expressive painting techniques.
On its most basic level, Textual Healing is a portrait exhibition where the figure has been demoted in favor of our increasing reliance on the ever-present cellphone screen. People often choose to experience life with a phone occupying their field of vision to the point where it seems like a preference is being made in the phone's favor over real life itself. To display this bizarre priority structure, the work shows the phones rendered sharply and in full color while the surrounding figures are often black and white, blurred, distorted, erased, dripped, or altered in some way. The on-screen content is completely trivial, despite looking more important and pristine than the surrounding elements. Figures exist in the context of text-based painting as seen through the eyes of a photo-realist.
Some pieces will include installation or video elements as a way to reinforce the meaning of the work. This shows that seemingly competitive media can exist within the same piece without taking attention away from the paintings and drawings.
Textual Healing explores the viewers' relationships with figures verses text, face-to-face interaction verses cellphone addiction, and representational art-making verses contemporary trends in installation, found objects and video. Oil painting and charcoal drawing have centuries worth of historical significance to back them up and each viewer brings with them some knowledge of this. Seeing irreverent modern iconography like text messages and menu icons rendered in such historically weighty media will leave viewers wondering about the significance of these devices and whether or not we should be behaving differently.
Gallery 414 is dedicated to Bob Fiesler. Gallery 414 would not be possible without the generosity of Razz Fiesler and her late husband, Bob.
Show runs from 1/31-3/8. Gallery 414's daytime hours are Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm. Opening reception held Saturday 1/31 from 6-9pm.