Copyright 2017
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Nicholas Schutzenhofer

Way Toward Somber Brightness

My drawings imply tableaux narratives hinting towards disoriented psychosocial allusions of power, identity and violence. Heavy gestural brushwork battles with ornately rendered facades. Manifestations overlap repeatedly entangling figure-figure and figure-ground relationships creating a tension that at once suggests and denies perspective. Oil drawings on paper loosely and playfully combine imaginative landscapes crawling with figurations all rendered in an agitated and hallucinatory pallet. Although, impervious to interpretation, my characters each elicit empathy. The masks and headdress adorning each character are drawn assemblages appropriating imagery, textures and forms. My bricolage includes bits of religious icons of Asia, 18th century English women s hair styles, early middle eastern military costumes, the dress of indigenous Americans, and European traditional folk fashions. The ambiguous drama of characters adorned in pastiche masks, displaying confused gestures while enacting theatrical scenes caught somewhere between a carnival-esque procession, a dance competition and a melee, ultimately offer no conclusions. Reference points include James Ensor, Odilon Redon, Goya, early generation Chicago artists including the Monster Roster, Hairy Who, Imagists and contemporary artists including Laylah Ali and Peter Doig and Daniel Richter.
with performances by Abiku and Fluid