Fredericks & Freiser is pleased to present “Four Artists”, an exhibition that examines the work of four young artists who address the figure in surprising ways.
Trying to make harmonious the split identification between her life in the United States and Nigeria, Njideka Akunyili’s large-scale works on paper communicate the complexity of preserving one’s heritage, while embracing the culture of the present. With the ultimate goal of balancing both realms, Akunyili seamlessly weaves photo-transfers of her family and friends in Nigeria onto her subjects and environments in the United States. Interwoven, the hierarchy between the two disappears.
Jaqueline Cedar’s figures occupy an otherworldly dimension. Standing as psychological archetypes they define their emotional interiors. Echoing the fractured surfaces of cubism and the self-referential brush strokes of high modernism, Cedar’s fantastical realms fuse the formalist modes of the past with a sentiment acutely felt in today’s times.
Justin Craun’s portraits activate the tug of war between figuration and abstraction. As his subjects pierce the fourth wall, his forceful colors have a different agenda. Swooping, swirling and careening throughout the composition they destabilize the central nature of the face. There is a tension between the subject and her surrounding environment. As the two reticently battle for unity, the enigmatic expressions of each figure become more pronounced, more insistent on being understood.
Ryan Sluggett’s heavy brush strokes and vibrant colors take on a role of their own. Swashing over his figures, their incorporeal natures are given form as they shape the mood of the piece. Akin to a work of music, Sluggett’s colors and lines convey a lyricism that incites emotional reaction. As their expressivity silently slips into consciousness a cauldron of visceral sensitivity emerges.