Rod Barton is pleased to announce the group show of new paintings “Friends of Marvin Gardens” featuring the works of Melissa Brown, Meg Franklin, Alicia Gibson, Susumu Kamijo, Anthony Miler, Adrianne Rubenstein and Jennifer Sullivan. The show acts as a microcosm of the activity of painters within a vibrant and transactional collaborative environment that avoids the question of what painting is to instead pose the crucial questions of how artists discuss, collaborate and create the necessary environments within each other to produce, support and dedicate a life to art practice.
Melissa Brown’s paintings evoke the endless discussion between artists about their reservoir of visual discourse, the prevalence of the art history canon and their subsequent contemporary moment. Presented on aluminium panels and combining a confluence of materials including oils, acrylic, resin and scratch-off ink, Brown’s paintings mimic the 21st century information culture. Depictions of famous paintings, historical compositions and contemporary subjects collide into a non-space that is effortlessly curated by the artist.
Meg Franklin’s still life’s, with their muted colour palette and soft-focus approach, seem to exist a fraction of a second outside of reality. Absurd motifs, non-sensical viewpoints and a command of colour that calls into the mind 70s interiors, curated spaces and sly nods to classic sci-fi.
Alicia Gibson’s work has been described as a highly personal process that is utilized to address the events, relationships and flotsam of life that sticks in the head of the artist. The resulting works are reminiscent of the adolescent constructions that adorn the pages of the worlds restless high school students. Words and emotive depictive elements take center stage in dioramas of intense emotional speculation.
Susumu Kamijo’s irreverent paintings dictate a humour and conversational nods to the transient spirits of abstraction. The artist’s process continually pushes for a sense of chasing discovery, like his poodle motifs chasing cars, mixed with a concise handling of media, retaining a lightness of touch.
Anthony Miler is constantly busy with both his endeavour and his approach to his painting practice. Miler’s work shares a penchant for the brutally reduced forms of the CoBrA Group. Rarely shielding itself, Miler instead allows himself to drop into the production of his paintings and drawings with a frenetic energy that extends beyond the physical application of the substance to canvas and instead transcends to an anxiety between sleep-paralysis and dreamless wanderlust.
Adrianne Rubenstein’s work is both deeply nostalgic, with its intense colour palette and post-impressionist reference, whilst slipping seamlessly within the contemporary moment of informational discourse and a mastered visual freneticism. Landscapes become fragmented whilst rendered in a painterly hand alongside figures trapped in low-res CRT screens, painterly prisons and anxious energy in which the compositions almost literally fizz with internal momentum.
Jennifer Sullivan is an artist with a diverse and extensive portfolio of practice that encompasses painting, video, and comedy amidst other ventures. These varying strands oscillate together and diverge throughout her endeavours, like sections of an elaborate braid. Sullivan’s work tackles aspects of daily culture with an innate sense of wit and positioning.
This show is an emblematic display of the ways in which painters integrate, discuss and dissipate within a shared community of working ideas. All heralding from New York City and showing in London, a transplanted discussion is lifted and rooted within the gallery space between the artists. What does it mean to have artistic agency? Where are the confines and tangents of conversation? Most of all, what painting do you like and why?