Rubens Ghenov, By the Rivers of Babylon, 2007, charcoal, graphite, sumi ink and xerox transfer on paper
Lawrence Wells, Victory, 2007, acrylic
In both of these images, personal and historical narratives collide. Lawrence Wells' Victory stresses the historical. Through dynamic contrasts and an ashen palette, I sense my own distance from the motion of modernist . There's a nostalgia to Wells' brushwork, and it's mirrored in the monument depicted. It feels as if I've found it in a photo album. The central figure suggests an eroding, Utopian confidence. As melancholy and wonder overlap, I'm reminded of the ideological phantoms that undoubtedly inhabit my world.
In Rubens Ghenov's By the Rivers of Babylon, there is greater emphasis on gravity. His strange landscape of objects is solid and heavy, but his touch is ephemeral. My eyes become nomadic; they pass through the image. As Ghenov gathers artifacts from the cultures that define him (Brazilian, American), I sense him passing through this landscape as well. His approach is more metaphysical than Wells' (maybe?), but it finds its expression in things. A drum-set, a bird, a soccer ball-- as these objects merge, a portrait arises. In a sense it's a scavenger's image. But it's one with the grace of a monument. - Dan Schank