Photo Feature: “Spectrum” at Ian Ross Gallery

by Admin on 07/08/2014

Instead of a curated group show composed of work by three artists, Ian Ross Gallery says “Spectrum” currently on view for the month of July and August is instead comprised of separate “mini solo shows” that divide its large, multi-level exhibition space in three. In this way, audiences enter the single gallery as a vehicle by which to experience participating artists John Wentz, Jeremiah Kille, and Yannick Hamon’s unique artistic practices.

Working with the classical, idealized, female figure, local artist John Wentz applies paint with an advanced technique and skill, resulting in a simplified composition possessing a great deal of depth and profundity. Wentz’s imagery and its power are paradoxically formed and even exacerbated by actually reducing the composition and subject matter to its fundamental elements. Without contextual environmental picture plane or a definitive relational scale, it is the emotions expressed by the women’s faces and gestures that come to the fore. “In this new series, I wanted to explore and emphasize the essential components of painting: composition, color and the application of paint,” says Wentz. “In doing so, it seemed necessary, and quite a challenge, to limit and simplify these elements in order to communicate to the viewer that in simplicity there is strength. With just two colors, sparse compositions and nearly abstract mark-making, I hope to connect and create a visual dialogue that transcends words.”

Making experimentation one of the most important facets of his artistic practice, French-born but Portland-based artist Yannick Hamon uses a variety of material and tools to create: photography, typography, graphic design, acrylic and spray paint, and resins. A bold, neon palette of colors used to highlight a predominantly black and white composition of beautiful female faces amid what look like newspaper and media headlines or typography successfully illustrates the youthful allure of the female figures, while also seems as if they pay homage to the pop-culture interests in the imperative immediacy of contemporary imagery for such a quickly-moving and rapidly changing world. Says Hamon: “I am not political in my art expression at all…What is inspiring and allows me to create pieces is the basic human emotion of everything we see around us daily, striking images of photography, how music can bring people to extreme levels of joy and tears…. Being respected and recognized on a very human, creative level is what motivates each painting.”

Jeremiah Kille employs an expressive, graffiti-like style alongside highly-rendered figures that when combined together in one composition reveal a playful juxtaposition with intriguing results. Large-scale drips and expansive brush strokes blended seamlessly with perfectly manicured landscapes, subject matter, and portraits coexist in a single piece, which lend a definite surrealist air. “I don’t only appreciate abstract figurative work, I’m drawn to all styles of painting, it only seems natural for me to be experimenting in different styles on my own work,” he says. “The paintings that are more abstracted seem to speak to another part of my brain, they’re more visceral but also narrative in nature. The two styles (abstract and figurative) both touch on the idea of finality while the abstract paintings have more of an open ended possibility for me while I’m painting.”



“Spectrum” will be on view at Ian Ross Gallery through August 15, 2014. Check out their Facebook page for summer hours.