THE OCEAN SHRUGS
OCTOBER 13 – DECEMBER 3, 2020
OPENING: TUESDAY, OCTOBER 13, 12–5PM
For its second season, Mister Fahrenheit is very pleased to present The Ocean Shrugs, a solo exhibition by Alex Eagleton. Activating the space through new bodies of painting and sculpture, the artist's project will be on view from October 13 through December 3, 2020.
Born in Greece and raised between Europe and the United States, Eagleton has long been fascinated by the concept of liminal space, or thresholds. Over the years, he has created work that operates in this in-between space, where traditionally decorative and domestic materials such as mirrors, glass, fabric, and roofing tar take on a life of their own: vanity mirrors reborn as paintings; delicate Murano-esque glass vessels turned into bongs; tchotchke beach sarongs reconfigured as framed textiles. Through his manipulation of material and social signifiers, Eagleton’s work probes the gap between inner and outer, art object and ornament, moderation and excess, as well as light and darkness, broaching broader questions regarding our own desires, naiveté, and impermanence.
With these themes as its fulcrum, The Ocean Shrugs invites viewers into liminal spaces of Eagleton’s own making. Central to this project is a push and pull between internal and external realities, a threshold the artist explores in his latest paintings installed throughout both indoor and outdoor spaces at Mister Fahrenheit. Anchoring the installation are Eagleton’s Impossible Sunsets, three new large-scale canvases suspended from, and bisected by, lacquered bamboo rods. Described by the artist as “inner landscapes,” each jewel-like work maps fragments of early formative memories – his encounters with expats as a child in Greece, a cliffscape near his primary school on the coast of England – rendered through a meticulous process of adding and removing layers of oil stick, raw pigment, linseed oil, alcohol ink, glass beads and flocking. Merging elements of the natural with the artificial, traditional art mediums with timestamped decorative materials (glass beads and flocking reminiscent of 1970’s interiors), these paintings straddle gaps in both time and translation, wittingly recalling ancient or religious scrolls that have been unknowingly mis-appropriated as fodder for someone’s living room. A riff on the Impossible Burger, Eagleton’s Impossible Sunsets speak to an insatiable and, at times, disorienting desire for the new and the “better,” as well as the naiveté ultimately involved in this quest.
Quietly juxtaposing the inner worlds of the Impossible Sunsets is a tight sequence of Fire Works, luminous small-scale paintings that represent glimmers of the external. These densely-layered canvases, each made with oil, acrylic, flocking, alcohol ink and glass beads, capture a single occurrence – a flash and a bang in the nighttime sky – that subsequently fizzles out. Much like Eagleton's previous work with mirrors, this series explores light both figuratively and literally, illuminated by the space's natural light along with the LED glow emitted from the neighboring sculpture, King of the Sea. Emblematic of the crossing-over between before and after, or life and death, the artist's Fire Works subtly confront ideas about mortality, its inevitability, and its place relative to our own immediate desires and pursuits. Lights Out, the final painting seen just prior to ascending the gallery’s staircase, is a life-sized reminder of just that: the looming, inescapable moment just before our candle is blown out.
Born in Athens, Greece in 1979, Alex Eagleton currently lives and works in New York City. The artist's recent solo exhibitions include Letting A Fish Watch A Sunset at 22 Ludlow in New York (2019) and This Is Heaven at Safe Gallery in Brooklyn (2018). Eagleton’s work has been included in group shows at Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY; CANADA, New York, NY; Club Rhubarb, New York, NY; Flat Two, London, UK; Dio Horia, Mykonos, Greece; and Hydra School Projects, Hydra, Greece, among other venues worldwide. Eagleton presently oversees Aetopoulos, an artist-run project space in Athens.
Established in the West Village of New York in 2019, Mister Fahrenheit is an independent project space for contemporary artists and curators. The program is devoted to realizing cross-disciplinary projects and collaborations outside of traditional gallery and institutional contexts. For more information about the space and its current safety measures, visit www.misterfahrenheitny.com.
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