Brian Gefen: The Dee Dee and Jack Wedding
May 13, 2011 - June 4, 2011
Opening reception May 13, 2011, 6 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Portal Found, I Repeat Portal Found, 2011, Acrylic, mixed media on canvas, 35" x 19.5"
Dorsch Gallery is pleased to present a solo show called The Dee Dee and Jack Wedding by Brian Gefen, Friday, May 13, 2011 - Saturday, June 4, 2011.
In his exhibition The Dee Dee and Jack Wedding Brian Gefen's paintings offer glimpses into an alternate universe of two warring clans: Development of Power and Untitled Creatures.
The series on view focuses on the episode in this story in which the clans are briefly joined by the marriage of two main characters from each of the clans: Tatiana Dee Dee and Helmut Jack. Gefen writes:
These two characters are united as one, in a wedding that takes place in an alternate universe called "Portal". The only access to this place is a white window with a curtain, guarded by the "Foot-at-Arms" soldiers of the Untitled Creatures who are in a Portal world because Helmet Jack killed Tatiana's last husband King Steamer of Development of Power. They wanted to take a break from the fighting between the clans.
Tatiana and Helmut Jack are lost in their own love and forget how much has been destroyed from the death of Steamer. Development of Power has no King but will soon find a worthy replacement. No one knows when and how Development of Power will retaliate against Helmet Jack, Tatiana Dee Dee or Untitled Creatures. The clans' monikers, Development of Power and Untitled Creatures, and their stories recall role playing games or choose your own adventure books. Such story lines are not linear; many stories or possible stories coexist at the same time in a reader (or author's) imagination. The paintings illustrating Gefen's story operate similarly. Consisting of words, color blocks, and characters, all rendered in various ways, the paintings present a complex and multi-tiered visual system. Gefen's style is studied naivete. His pictures are always flat, lacking illusionistic depth- they are paintings in the way that paintings should never pretend not to be, at least according to the tenants of many abstract-expressionists. In Her and the ring Gefen superimposes flat color fields over a layer of translucent paint over a handwritten love letter from Helmut Jack to Tatiana. A hand-drawn heart shape in bright green crops the letter. Helmut Jack looks like a day-glo cross between Bart Simpson and a self-portrait by Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Stickers, wheat pasted lo-tech paper signs and vinyl letters complicate his system. In Her party there are eight fonts of letters in this painting: three of which are painted or drawn. The other five are vinyl letters that Gefen applies to the surface at different points in his process, sometimes outlining them and then removing the vinyl. Applied thusly, the word "Party" is in a loopy cursive font associated with homemade posters by 12-year old girls.
Interrupting the conveyance of language and impression so aggressively takes even further what Mike Kelley did with installations of handwritten posters that looked like high school election propaganda, bake sale or band performance announcements. To Kelley the craft or low-brow quality of these objects highlighted the way we make snap judgments about what is important and what is not. Gefen is using his collision of different letters and painting styles concurrently to incite conflicting ideas of "importance" in the experience, content and judgment of Painting.
Brian Gefen received his Masters in Fine Art from the University of Miami in Coral Gables this spring and his Bachelors in Fine Art from Ai Miami International University of Art and Design in 2007. Awards include Jury Merit award at the Masters Candidate Exhibition at the Lowe in 2010 and Best in Show at the Annual Juried Student Competition exhibition at the Lowe Art Museum in 2009. His work has been included in a variety of group shows around Miami since 2005, among them 2012 at Miami Art Space, curated by Kiki Valdes in 2010.
The Dee Dee and Jack Wedding, 2011, Installation shot
Her and the ring, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 43" x 65"
To the wedding we go, 2011, Mixed media on canvas, 64" x 60"