Symbolisms

Opening reception: Friday October 27, 2017, 6-9pm

COOPER COLE is pleased to present Symbolisms, a group exhibition curated by Chris Sharp.

Symbolisms is a group exhibition which brings together a group of artists who are working in a pictorial mode strongly reminiscent of historical Symbolism. A cross between a movement and a tendency, Symbolism dominated fin-de-siècle European painting and literature. At once the off-spring of gothicism and romanticism and a reaction against naturalism and realism, Symbolism (in painting) was known for its otherworldly, mystical, evocative and idealized forms. Rejecting urbanization and materialism, symbolists withdrew, akin to J.K. Huysmans’ Des Esseintes, into an interior universe of their own making. In many ways, it was a turning away from the world. Although not apparently political, Symbolism, which was willfully retrograde, could nevertheless be seen as spurning many tendencies at the end of the 19th century, from entrenched notions of progress to the technological evolution of the late industrial revolution. It also occurred at the same time as one of the most significant moments of institutionalized racism of the 19th century: The Dreyfus Affair. This being the case, parallels between our moment and the end of the 19th century abound: from anxieties around (technological) progress (smart phones, etc) to radical, de-individualized standardization (social media), to institutionalized racism (Brexit, Trump, etc). This does not exhaustively explain a resurgence of symbolist imagery and methods primarily in contemporary painting, but it does help us understand, not to mention historically situate, why a similar turning away from the world toward categorically fantastical, otherworldly, or even mystical forms and imagery might drive certain aspects of contemporary artistic production.

This exhibition is called Symbolisms– plural– because the participating artists approach these questions as well the production of their imagery from a variety of different angles and specific influences. The US, LA-based artist Tom Allen’s hallucinatory flower paintings are clearly indebted to the Art Nouveau and gothic components of Symbolism while Canadian, LA-based Rachelle Sawatsky’s no less colorful imagery evinces the more expressionistic legacy of Edvard Munch and James Ensor. The influence of Odilon Redon can be seen in the playful and graphic paintings of the German, Berlin-based Isabelle Fein as much as the etchings of Colombian, Me-dillin-based José Antonio Suaréz Londoño. Texas born, New York-based Michael Berryhill’s bright, quasi-abstract, seemingly phosphorescent paintings are strongly influenced by the Nabis, in particular, Pierre Bonnard and even Paul Sérusier, and are perhaps best viewed through the lens of Mallarmé’s oft-cited description of his poetry: “To depict not the thing but the effect it produces.” As much could be said about the fluid, loosely painted, and evocative pictures of the Austrian, Vienna-based Katharina Hoeglinger, while the Argentine, Buenos Aires-based Santiago de Paoli’s strange, fragmented depictions of the human body err toward surrealism’s direct debt to Symbolism. The bright, exuberant ceramics of the US, New York-based Bruce M. Sherman seem to come to us by way of similar transitional figure, but this time Paul Klee. All that said, these artists can hardly be reduced to their alleged referents. Ultimately, in the very spirit of Symbolism itself, they should and can only be perceived as the authors of their own personal and idiosyncratic languages which must be learned in order to be appreciated.

 

For more information please contact the gallery:

info@coopercolegallery.com
+1.416.531.800

Artworks

José Antonio Suaréz Londoño

nº160

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nº160, 1998

Etching

12" X 8.8"
30.48cm X 22.35cm

José Antonio Suaréz Londoño

nº155

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nº155, 1998

Etching

12" X 8.8"
30.48cm X 22.35cm

Bruce M. Sherman

Moving About With an Openess Inside

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Moving About With an Openess Inside, 2017

Glazed ceramic

5.7" X 19.5" X 19.5"
14.48cm X 49.53cm X 49.53cm

Bruce M. Sherman

Ladder of Ascending Scale of Perception

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Ladder of Ascending Scale of Perception, 2016

Glazed ceramic

15.5" X 7" X 7.5"
39.37cm X 17.78cm X 19.05cm

Bruce M. Sherman

Looking Upwards

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Looking Upwards, 2016

Glazed ceramic

22" X 11.7" X 7.5"
55.88cm X 29.72cm X 19.05cm

Bruce M. Sherman

Figure With Plant

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Figure With Plant, 2017

Glazed ceramic

25" X 12.5" X 17"
63.5cm X 31.75cm X 43.18cm

Rachelle Sawatsky

The Animal Lover’s Guide to Tragedy / The Emotional Person’s Guide to Plot

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The Animal Lover's Guide to Tragedy / The Emotional Person's Guide to Plot, 2016

Oil and flashe on canvas

51.5" X 58"
130.81cm X 147.32cm

Santiago de Paoli

Dos lunas

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Dos lunas, 2017

Oil on felt fabric

19.3" X 16.1"
49.02cm X 40.89cm

Santiago de Paoli

Luna con Luz

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Luna con Luz

2017

20.5" X 17.7"
52.07cm X 44.96cm

Katharina Hoeglinger

Flowers in a vase as butterfly elephant

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Flowers in a vase as butterfly elephant, 2017

39.4" X 31.5"
100.08cm X 80.01cm

Katharina Hoeglinger

Vase with key

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Vase with key, 2017

15.7" X 12.6"
39.88cm X 32cm

Isabelle Fein

And the funny thing about it

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And the funny thing about it, 2017

India ink and oil on canvas

11.8" X 9.5"
29.97cm X 24.13cm

Isabelle Fein

Pfaueninsel

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Pfaueninsel, 2017

Oil on board

11.8" X 9.5"
29.97cm X 24.13cm

Isabelle Fein

Cat nap

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Cat nap, 2017

India ink and oil on canvas

11.8" X 9.45"
29.97cm X 24cm

Isabelle Fein

Foxes

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Foxes, 2017

India ink and oil on canvas

14.2" X 11.8"
36.07cm X 29.97cm

Isabelle Fein

Hometown

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Hometown, 2017

India ink on canvas

14.2" X 11.8"
36.07cm X 29.97cm

Isabelle Fein

Change

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Change, 2017

India ink and oil on canvas

15.8" X 12.2"
40.13cm X 30.99cm

Isabelle Fein

esc

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esc, 2017

India ink on canvas

16.5" X 12.6"
41.91cm X 32cm

Michael Berryhill

Wedge

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Wedge, 2017

Oil on linen

20" X 17"
50.8cm X 43.18cm

Michael Berryhill

Fort Foliage

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Fort Foliage, 2016

Oil on linen

28.25" X 25"
71.75cm X 63.5cm

Tom Allen

Angels Trumpet

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Angels Trumpet, 2016-2017

Oil on canvas

13" X 9"
33.02cm X 22.86cm

Tom Allen

Red, Yellow, Pink

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Red, Yellow, Pink, 2017

Oil on canvas

19" X 13"
48.26cm X 33.02cm