Cultural Watch

Last Rites Show: The New Baroque


“The New Baroque” was inspired by the artist and co-curator Rob Zeller’s new book on the exciting resurgence of the figure in art, The Figurative Artist’s Handbook. Much like the Baroque period, the diverse array of artists in this exhibition speak to contemporary political, personal and formal artistic concerns using a common, figurative language in uniquely personal styles. While the book was used as a starting point, Zeller and Booth Gallery Director, Casey Gleghorn have moved beyond the scope of the printed text. They have added some artists not included in the original printing, both painters and sculptors, to reflect a broader spectrum of new and exciting voices in the figurative movement.

The original Baroque, an effort largely financed by the Catholic Church as a reaction to the Protestant Reformation, favored the “Blockbuster”, large-scale dramatic paintings of Biblical scenes that illustrated how this material world interacted with the Divine, the spiritual.  Entirely secular in nature and more personal in scale, this exhibition also features artists who dig deeper than the mere appearance of things, the first level of realism. They are asking bigger questions of personal and metaphysical concerns, using the figure and its environment as a foil to explore the nature of existence.

While this show offers up a diverse array of 22 contemporary figurative artists, it is richly steeped in a dialogue with artists of the past. Because figurative art has been in existence prior to the Egyptians, there is a deep well of experience for contemporary artists to draw upon. Chie Shimizu’s two sculptures, Untitled No.15 and The Story of the River, are rooted in an interesting fusion of western and traditional Japanese aesthetics. Shimizu’s work features subjects best read as iconic stand-ins for humanity, general rather than specific. They are meditations on our finite relationship to the infinite.

Co-curated by Casey Gleghorn and Rob Zeller Based on e Figurative Artist’s Handbook
e New Baroque
November 18th – January 13th, 2017 Opening Reception: Saturday, November 18th at 7pm

Steven Assael, Bo Bartlett, Aleah Chapin, Carl Dobsky, Randall Exon, Zoey Frank, Alex Kanevsky, David Kassan, Kurt Kauper, Evan Kitson, Maria Kreyn, Brad Kunkle, Christian Johnson, Adam Miller, Matthew Miller, Alyssa Monks, Odd Nerdrum, Ashley Oubre, Camie Salaz, Chie Shimizu, Nicola Verlato and Rob Zeller