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September 9-12, 2021   Javits Center

#ArmoryAccess

Armory Access offers a platform for galleries from The Armory Show 2020 Presents section with the goal of facilitating digital engagement with their current gallery exhibitions.

Antoine Levi Gallery | Between Fossil and Ghost

A selection of Evan Gilbert's paintings from "Between Fossil and Ghost" paired with recent work

Antoine Levi gallery is pleased to present a selection of works by US painter Evan Gilbert combining views from his latest gallery show Between Fossil and Ghost along with a survey of his practice through a selection of recent pieces. Explore exhibition content below and for more details on the artist and available works, contact the gallery directly.

About the Exhibition

To archive or to create an archive of images and motifs is to index an emotive registry. A gesture that signifies desire. The splitting, rearranging, and mirroring of art historical pastiche as a way to pervert the archive. In hopes of opening up the potential for a new non linear narrative and hybrid emotive registry.

The idea of mirroring or splitting the self is an integral part of this grouping of paintings. In all the works the figures depicted seem to be present but formless, something ancient while also an apparition of a time to come. Their bodies are open and flowing into their immediate surroundings as if part of one singular organism. Figures are split into two, mirroring each other, analyzing one another. It's unclear which are illusion and which are concrete. Their gestural, glowing liquid form depict the doubling of self into some kind of visual index of marks, something made of visual language. In this fracturing of human form the body becomes demented, a fissure in the interaction between the rational mind and the consumption and processing of information. Seemingly causing a collective dementia amongst the figures depicted.

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Is this the past, present, or future? This fissure results in a fracture of not only time but language and sign interpretation. The figures and scenarios depicted while descriptive give no linear narrative or complete view of each character’s morality or intent but are rather open to interpretation.

The process of creating these works is another mirror of their content. The art object as a light filled residue of process a negation of the perfect and complete form. Figures and spaces are erased, repainted, scraped off or completely deleted, presence and absence hold equal weight. The imagery itself is a collaging of everything from classical painting motifs, authoritarian/spiritualist symbols and comic imagery. All function on the same level one no higher than the other. Their allure and relations come from their sense of touch and vulnerability to one another including the viewer. This hybridization of images and loss of information in their joining becomes a reflective cypher for the works as a whole.

Like the Golem that haunted the dreams of the ancient Kabbalists or crumbling buildings in gothic literature the emotive space created by the telling of a story is the central function of the story, the specificity of language generates a space beyond the literal word that gives more insight into the meaning and intent of the work then direct definition. In the same way the descriptive image holds no equal weight in relation to its viewers as a whole.

For more information, visit the gallery's website.

About the Artist: Evan Gilbert

Evan Gilbert (Miami, USA, 1993) lives and works in New York City. He graduated (MFA) at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Between Fossil and Ghost was his first solo show at Antoine Levi gallery, extended with a presentation at The Armory Show 2020 in the Presents section.

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Artist's Statement

"What is the function of humor in today's society? What is the role of the comedian in increasingly clownish times? How does humor challenge power structures in contemporary life and art? How can painting deploy these methods in an effective manner?"

The archetype of the trickster has appeared in myth and literature around the world for many centuries. In all instances it represents the disruptive side of the human imagination, a being that lives outside the rules of conventional thought and behavior. Like the trickster, artists create through disruption and exposure but in most cases become the most vulnerable to the things they are disrupting or exposing. I'm interested in creating paintings that operate visually as the trickster does in narrative. I want to create an image that function as visual riddles or satirical allegories, where past and present are happening simultaneously - as a way to expose personal and societal pathologies and cyclical patterns. With the use of montage, pastiche and blurred or warped bodies the paintings function as visual disruption, allowing me to work within a tradition while simultaneously mocking it.

Disruption and obstruction function as a challenge of power. The morality and intentions of the figures and narratives depicted in my paintings are embedded in their atmosphere and the material application of paint. Like the trickster myths the meaning is heavily coded. The results and origins of their tricks or jokes never immediately expose themselves, but are endlessly unfolding and expanding. They are jokes that tell themselves.

The figures in my paintings are comedic and playful. They explore tragedy and potential truth in the form of a joke, riddle, or game. With the use of visible brushwork, their bodies are depicted as malleable and open. In many of the works, a light source radiates from within each body. I’m interested in depicting the figures in my paintings as beings with potential for transformation and movement. I want a sense that they have personal agency, but are still vulnerable to their surroundings and their interactions with other bodies.

Humor isn't always funny, and trickery isn't always tragic. In many cases a joke comes from a place of deep sadness and desperation, an urgent need to expose something for what it really is. The self-imposed humiliation of the clown or comedian disarms the viewer or audience and the viewer becomes as vulnerable as the performer.

Exhibition Artwork

Inquire with the gallery for up-to-date availability and further details

Evan Gilbert
Untitled, 2019
Cm. 183 x 122
Oil on canvas
© Aurélien Mole / Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Hive Mind (Broken Aleph), 2019
Cm. 158 x 91
Oil on canvas
© Aurélien Mole / Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Untitled, 2019
Cm. 158 x 91
Oil on canvas
© Aurélien Mole / Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Together, 2019
Cm. 122 × 91
Oil on canvas
© Aurélien Mole / Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Untitled, 2019
Cm. 45,5 × 30,3
Ink on paper
Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Untitled, 2019
Cm. 38 × 27,8
Ink on paper
Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Mephisostopheles Childhood Regression Therapy, 2018
Cm. 198 × 122
Oil on linen
Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Standard Distance Apart and the Things Inbetween, 2019
Cm. 117 x 163
Oil on canvas
© Aurélien Mole / Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris
Evan Gilbert
Specter, 2019
In two parts, each cm. 122 x 91,5
Oil on canvas
© Aurélien Mole / Courtesy the Artist and Antoine Levi, Paris