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Evaluation: Three artists create mesmerizing, dreamlike worlds in “Preternatural”

Preternatural, the three-person exhibit at Marcia Wooden Gallery by way of April 16, refers to issues that exist outdoors of nature which can’t be defined by standard means. Every of the artists – Jennifer Coates, David Humphrey and Mie Yim — creates a representational world that has been twisted and turned in dreamlike scenes that fill one both with anxiousness or sunlit peace.

The artists are in uncharacteristic concord with each other. For starters, all of them embrace a saturated palette. Their works’ representational strangeness, which evokes the unconscious by way of deliciously skewed illustrations of ideas of issues seen and unseen, relates them to Surrealist dream photos.

Coates’ work conjure the transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson in small figures inside a lusciously abstracted, paranormal forest within the fashion of Paul Klee. Borrowing Klee’s language of abstraction, Coates turns Klee’s kinds inside out in a non secular panorama saturated with coloration and kind.

Coates’ “One other Inexperienced World”

Coates’ “Frost,” 2018, acrylic on canvas, is the primary work the viewer sees when coming into the exhibition. It’s much more summary than her current work: thickly painted black strains, outlined in white, dance across the canvas in a fascinating array of drips and dabs of assorted sizes and viscosities that trace at panorama.

Her “Two Centaurs,” 2021, made with acrylic spray paint on canvas, unlocks a imaginative and prescient of a brand new panorama of dense forest that divides up the canvas vertically utilizing timber outlined in a cerulean blue with the boldness of spray-painted orange and yellow.

The painted forest is deep, darkish and impenetrable; two small headless centaurs body the doorway. The mysterious forest in her “Headless Hand Holders,” 2021, is a mass of fantastically messy yellow, inexperienced and orange spray paint that defines a cover held up by timber outlined in a luminous periwinkle blue; three headless figures maintain what may solely be their heads. One can solely think about what narrative is at play right here.

In Humphrey’s work, twisted and playful compositional parts present his intense relationship to Pop Artwork and such representational artists as David Salle and R. B. Kitaj.

“Blue Horse,” 2016, is a big canvas visually cut up in half with an intense blue silhouette of a horse’s physique filling the best aspect of the canvas. A small orange horse standing in a parallelogram of inexperienced brushstrokes presses into the leg of the blue horse, making a stress that’s additional sophisticated by marks that delineate an architectural house on the left aspect of the portray. It’s a scene you would possibly see in a dream.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey’s “Poodle,” 2021

“Poodle,” 2021, is a big and great portrait of an abstracted white canine whose kind has been distorted by the artist. As if this weren’t sufficient, Humphrey’s paint and coloration are wealthy and saturated with teals and blues which can be so highly effective and fascinating it’s exhausting to not carry them with you to the subsequent work.

Yim’s work specific a unique type of cross between figuration and abstraction, extra associated to the physique. Though the kinds that fill her work are usually not figures, they’ve an anatomical presence that calls up the Surrealists.

“Surrogate,” 2021, is a head or a torso not totally articulated by the rounded kinds that fill out the composition. Her kinds evoke monsters inside the physique, as in “Medusa,” 2021, whose snake-like path additionally reads as a colon.

“Fugu,” 2021, a horizontal canvas composed of what is perhaps dissected organs, is made up of a myriad of small round parts drawn in white paint over a purple, blue and yellow curvilinear summary kind. Fugu is a pufferfish which will be lethal if eaten with out correct preparation. In correct fugu preparation, a hint of the poison is left within the dish in order that the feeling of being poisoned is a part of the expertise. The danger of consuming fugu is parallel to viewing Yim’s artwork —  she creates works that don’t really feel secure.

The exhibition consists principally of huge work, however the true jewels of Preternatural are a grouping of small drawings, all constructed from 2021-22, which replicate the inventiveness so many artists found through the pandemic.

Coates’ “Three Deer, a Tree and Some Blue,” 2022, is a captivating and intense offshoot of her painterly vocabulary. The work facilities on a tree whose bark is a fauve masterpiece, with tiny flecks in a myriad of colours surrounded by probably the most intense ultramarine blue. Humphrey’s two drawings are “Framed” and “Full,” each from 2021. His daring abstraction is overlaid with marks and pictures or textual content which have a graphic sensibility and presence; the drawings make one suppose he’s tagging his personal work.

Yim’s 4 drawings, “Quarantine” #39, #146, #175 and #151, in pastel on handmade paper, are like portraits which have run amuck into abstraction. The inventiveness of those three artists’ drawings, through which they envisage their respective worlds on a small scale, is mesmerizing.


Deanna Sirlin is an artist and author. She is understood internationally for large-scale installations which have coated the perimeters of buildings from Atlanta to Venice, Italy. Her ebook, She’s Received What It Takes: American Girls Artists in Dialogue, (2013) is a essential but intimate take a look at the lives and work of 9 famous American ladies artists.

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