Grenning Gallery: Contemporary Representational Paintings / Jan 12 – Feb 10

Figuratively Speaking

A Collection of Contemporary Representational Paintings

January 12th – February 10th 2019
Reception TBD
The human figure is, has been, and forever will be, a subject that fascinates artists. Whether
the artwork was fashioned to tell a story, to capture a likeness, or to create as a universal
glorification of organic beauty, the human form is eternally a subject which the viewer can
relate to, and often find solace in.
The depiction of the human figure in art has evolved over time, and its changing again.
From stick figures on the wall of a cave, to flat, 2-dimensional characters illuminating a
narrative. At the beginning of the 20th Century, artists began to step away from realist representation. Artists like Picasso, and Marcel Duchamp took their knowledge of the human form, and broke down anthropomorphic features into shapes, lines and colors. Modernist tradition began, and outrage as an inspiration overtook beauty and balance found in the academy.
Abstraction took charge of the art world by Mid-Century. There was a considerable period marked by the absence of the figure, and any representational work in general. Pop art in the 60’s and 70’s initiated a slow swerve back to representational work, though figurative work was often sexualized as it had become in popular media.
In the 1970s and 80’s, disputes arose between art-scholars and lawmakers, what discerned
the difference between art and pornography (i.e.: Jeff Koons, Robert Mapplethorpe, or
Marlene Dumas)
So where does that leave our figurative painters today? Has the world seen enough
figurative paintings? We don’t think so. We believe that after 100 years of modernism,
abstraction, and conceptualism, it is time to return to reality.
At Grenning Gallery, we are interested in the artists that are delving into a humanist
tradition that looks at the human figure with awe and curiosity, creating their works with a deep respect for the sanctity of the human subject. And although our painters do maintain their individual styles, all of our artists’ figurative work shares one main theme: Beauty.
“Tonic” by Alyssa Monks,
84 x 56 inches, Oil on linen 2011
Alyssa Monks (b. 1977), One of the most prolific painters to come out of the New York Academy of Art in the last ten years. Alyssa’s work began to garner great attention with a series of large-scale paintings of herself in the bathtub/shower. Laura Grenning describes the painting as: “Cindy Sherman meets Classical Painting.” With “Tonic”, Alyssa Monks has created a thing of beauty, while pushing the boundaries on what most classical realists are doing. The viewer is intrigued by the artistic effect of wet skin and hair immersed in water.
Monks says: “My intention is to transfer the intimacy and vulnerability of my human experience into a painted surface. I
like mine to be as intimate as possible, each brush stroke like a fossil, recording every
gesture and decision.”
“Light Through the Window”
Ben Fenske,
43.3 x 35.4 inches,
Oil on canvas, 2017
Anthony Ackrill
28 x 44 inches,
Oil on canvas, 2008
Spring (Calabrone)
45 x 35.5 inches,
Oil on linen, 2014
Monday 11am – 5pm
Tuesday 11am – 5pm
Wednesday 11am – 5pm
Thursday 11am – 5pm
Friday 11am – 6pm
Saturday 11am – 7pm
Sunday 11am – 5pm
26 Main Street
Sag Harbor, NY 11963


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