Intimations of Mortality


September 08 – October 02, 2010

Artist: Justin Waldstein

Opening Reception: Friday, September 17, 6-8pm
(Reception is not the first day of the exhibition)

ISE Cultural Foundation is pleased to present “Intimations of Mortality” by Justin Waldstein.

Dreamlike images of bodies in motion, jumping, flying, fleeting moments with intimations of mortality. An unwanted phone call, its recipient contorted in an agonized rictus. Blurred memories of mysterious visitors, rendered in red like acid burns on the retina. Drawing from life, found photos, commercial imagery and comics, Justin Waldstein captures moments of exhilaration and despair in loose, fluid strokes of gouache, watercolor and Conte crayon, limning the beauty and the fragility of the human form. With minimal line and maximum white space, Waldstein conveys subjects unmoored from their surroundings, rendering them both archetypal and strange. His faces tend to the nonspecific, while the use of unexpected and unnatural colors desentimentalizes familiar images — detaching, for example, a mother from her child. Are those two children jumping from monkey bars, or are they running from a forest fire?

The surfaces on which Waldstein works — weathered wood panels, wrinkled canvas that gives his paintings the ornery permanence of tattooed flesh, performers’ bodies on which he has projected his ink drawings — have always been integral to his method. Here, his works on paper have been mounted between glass to preserve their rough edges and the spontaneity of their execution. His drawing books, containing gouache renderings of anonymous people observed, often on the subway, record fleeting encounters with fractured fragments, the work of a lifelong New Yorker who takes in the daily cavalcade of strangers one mouth, one gesture at a time.

Image: “Headstand”, 2007, gouache and conte crayon on paper, 12″ x 16″

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