Gregory Cumins — Paintings & Drawings
Paintings & Drawings
Past: January 17 → March 15, 2014
Gregory Cumins studied sculpture at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts Paris under English artist Richard Deacon. Deeply affected by this training, his painting tends to merge in one single ground image and space, compressing the volume into one single layer in a way that creates a visual perturbation for the viewer.
His recent paintings feature figures that are systematically appearing alone in the center of a solid middle ground covered with a translucent monochromatic shade.
These very realistic silhouettes are painted from photographs caught from a website belonging to the American Ministry of Defense whose purpose is to improve the country’s image by showcasing pictures taken by the military soldiers themselves. The images are those of Iraqi and Afghan civilians, mainly children, seemingly happy, stretching their arms to gunmen.
In his larger works, Cumins paints these figures life size. Taken out of their context, the figures seem to live in the same space with us, but at the same time are lost to us and in this both the subject and viewer are helplessly trapped in a charged zone; this pathos and confusion is the emotional ground upon which the figures stand.
Covered with translucent paint, the figure takes on a frozen aestheticized vibration that makes the plight even more palpable.
By using photography’s objective memory and both the emotional nature of painting and its physical presence, Cumins compresses the four dimensions of time and space onto a solid visual plane. The result is between abstraction and figuration, a new perspective emerging from the canvas in a rather ambiguous space where the viewer is suddenly aware of time as suspended and vague.