January 12 - February 16, 2014
entitled Blue Tomorrows. Powell will present a new series of paintings on drywall and works on paper. This exhibition will be on view from January 12th to February 16th at Chapter NY, located at 127 Henry Street, between Rutgers and Pike street.
Exploring the historical conceit of painting as a metaphorical window, Powell focuses on the experience of containment, investigating the imagery idealized when trapped in a room. Landscapes, skies, moonlight peeking through the forest, birds silhouetted against the clouds – all symbols of hope, freedom and escape. Powell obstructs these subjects with bold colorful lines or ‘blinds’, forming a veil or curtain over these painted ‘windows’. Creating feelings of lost hope and suppression. In each work, the geometric abstraction and realistic depictions synthesize moments of distinction and blurring, denying the viewer either.
The use of color and masking lines create a sensory experience, echoing the psychology of one’s confinement. This effect evokes a feeling of despondence: bleak, ephemeral, and illusive, yet seductive and inviting. With titles of works such as the diptych, Wish U Were Here, Better off Alone, Powell points towards desire as well as defeat.
For this series of paintings, Powell has shifted from working on canvas to sheetrock, a natural progression after utilizing motifs of wallpapers, walls and the space beyond the walls. Cut by hand these course edges have a dynamic tension with the flat and precise surfaces of the paintings. These cutouts indicate larger spaces that the paintings may have been a part off.
Dour as this all may seem there is always the underlying hopefulness of what lies beyond.
Shawn Powell lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He received his MFA in painting from Hunter College in 2008 and was presented the Tony Smith Award Grant. Powell has been included in exhibitions at The Fabric Workshop, PA, Harbor Gallery, NY, Brooklyn Fireproof, NY, and Las Esquina, MO.
Installation view Orange Sky, 2013 Acrylic on sheetrock, 15 x 10 inches Why Me?, 2013 Acrylic on sheetrock, 15 x 10 inches
Black Forest, 2013 Acrylic on sheetrock, 18 x 14 inches