'POOR TRAITS' - Gerben Mulder and Stephen j. Shanabrook
prolonged until February 24th!
Portraying the moments of tortured souls and lost characteristics – the Poor Traits show is about losing it. Gerben Mulder (Amsterdam, 1972) and Stephen j Shanabrook’s (Cleveland, 1965) works are reflections of a time of decay and existential doubt, dark moments of self-destruction. Theirs is a shattering world that is devolving in front of viewer’s eyes.
(Both artists have been friends for over 20 years and work in adjacent studios in Brooklyn NY)
Throughout his career, Mulder has developed a body of work that establishes a dialogue with a tradition of European painting, which spans from Velázquez’s children to the distorted figures of Edward Munch. With an iridescent palette, his portraits, his flowers vases and still-life paintings emphasize psychological aspects (melancholy and euphoria) and a subjective dimension of the images. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith situates this most recent production in the gap between Raoul Dufy and Jackson Pollock. That is, between an essentially figurative painting with traditional themes on the one hand, and abstract expressionism on the other. His new works radically emphasize the materiality of painting, being conceived in a physical way. The gesture is strikingly wide, quick, and omnipresent. The spiral brush strokes, graphic-like, retro modernist mark-making bring a contemporary edge to this genre.
Gerben Mulder’s paintings are of figures caught at the moment of contorted darkness with their bodies and their desires hanging out in a ripe suggestive manner. The obtuse sexuality and hints of sorcery are all part of Mulder’s painting language that explores the darker side of the human experience.
The disturbing line between painful and sweet, death and beauty has been the main theme throughout the career of artist Stephen j Shanabrook. Shanabrook traverses the taboo terrains of desire and violence to explore their paradoxical common ground. His vision comes very close to the edge where one usually turns back. In his works, he gives a new and often disturbing meaning to substances and forms otherwise associated with comfort, happiness and banality, like chocolate, cotton candy, toys. Like in his prominent piece at the controversial MONA museum “On the Road to Heaven Highway to Hell”, A sculptural portrait of a suicide bomber remnants made out of chocolate or his performance using a cotton-candy machine “Beaten to a Pulp on the Bed of Moss” where lighter than air melted pink sugar of pure joy accumulated on a artist’s face and body, turns into a webs of pain, reminiscent a of crime or disaster scene.
Stephen j Shanabrook new sculptures are reflections on emotional deconstructs, a dissected reality presented with dark humor. The artist uses mixed media but mostly found plastic, material, which is a symbolic fossil of contemporary society. Like in “Drunk and Pregnant”, sculptural portrait of a pregnancy gone wrong, of distorted representations of guts resembling Philip Guston painting.
Mulder has exhibited throughout the world in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including The 1st Liverpool Biennial UK, Kunstverein Cologne Germany, Boston University Gallery USA, Kunsthal Kade and the Museum of Contemporary art in Tucson USA (MOCA Tucson). His Sao Paulo based gallery Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel has been presenting him over the years at main art fairs like Art Basel, Art Basel Miami, The Armory show and at Frieze (London & New York). His works are in public and private collections in the USA, Europe, South America and Asia.
Shanabrook has exhibited throughout the world in numerous solo and group exhibitions, included MоMA & Drawing Center in New York, City Museum of Ljubljana/Slovenia, Weserburg Museum of Modern Art / Bremen, Kulturforum/Berlin, Moscow Biennale. His works is part of public and private collections in USA, Europe, Russia and Australia, including Damien Hirst’s “murderme” collection and David Walsh’s controversial MONA Museum in Tasmania.
Galerie Frank Taal will proudly present Gerben Mulder, Stephen j Shanabrook and Daan den Houter at Art Rotterdam. February 7 -11 - 2018
Stephen Shanabrook currently, until 25.03.2018 in Proof of life Weserburg museum Bremen presented together with Hilary Berseth, Louise Bourgeois, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Patrick van Caeckenbergh, Jake & Dinos Chapman, George Condo, Anton Corbijn, Thierry de Cordier, Danny Devos, Tracey Emin, Tom Friedman, Line Gulsett, Damien Hirst, Roni Horn, Thomas Houseago, John Isaacs, Sergej Jensen, Nadav Kander, Anne-Mie van Kerckhoven, Anselm Kiefer, Esther Kläs, Wolfe von Lenkiewicz, Alastair Mackie, Christian Marclay, Kate MccGwire, Richard Prince, Leopold Rabus, Daniel Richter, Terry Rodgers, Sterling Ruby, Richard Serra, Andres Serrano, Stephen Shanabrook, Mircea Suciu, Gavin Turk, Jonathan Wateridge.