Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Alex Becerra, David Leggett and William J. O’Brien

KIMMERICH  Germany | Berlin
NOVEMBER 19, 2016-JANUARY 12, 2017
Kimmerich Gallery is pleased to present works by Alex Becerra, David Leggett and William J. O’Brien. All three artists circle around different versions of the (male/artist) identity by referencing disparate histories of painting and popular culture.
Alex Becerra’s paintings locate themselves in the history of European, and often German, painting like Werner Büttner, Martin Kippenberger, and Jonathan Meese. Working in traditional figurative genres, Becerra builds up multiple layers of paint in search for color, composition and form. In “Back Seat Driver” (2016) black and dark blue oil paint serve as a background for a thick white outline of a female torso holding a can of beer. The detailed colorful rendering of the beer can contrasts the simplified silhouette of the figure and, in conjunction with the title, alludes to a meandering party night turning the red and yellow marks that are worked into the dark background into urban lights.
David Leggett addresses topics like racism, political movements and sexuality by using the picture surface as a free floating space where collaged images meet with reoccurring characters, cut-out abstract forms with rhinestones assembled into caption-like text. He shows societal power structures by virtuously clashing hierarchies of taste and power in art and popular culture. Leggett draws from a rich legacy of humor and satire created by forerunners like the comedians Robin Harris and Richard Pryor and art historical movements such as the Chicago Imagists.
Materiality and process convey a narrative central to William J. O’Brien’s work. The stitches of the felt collages reveal the ever-present appearance of the artist’s hand while referencing traditions of craft. Cut-out felt letters assembled into words and shapes associated with quotidian life, sexual desire and obsession compose a picture plane perceivable as an abstract interplay of various forms if viewed from afar, but reveal their signified meaning when viewed from close-by.
Weydingerstrasse 6 , Berlin, Germany 10178

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