Federico Luger (FL GALLERY) is pleased to announce selfportraitas, the solo exhibition of the american painter Franklin Evans (1967, Reno, Nevada). Franklin Evans extends his use of art history in a series of paintings, each using as a primary structure another artist, such as Frank Stella, an artwork, like Gene Davis’ Franklin Footpath, or art historic moment, like Futurism, working through artists he admire or seek to better understand the material and form from which it emerged, and he fold that study into his own work.
For the Milan exhibition, Franklin Evans reflects on the role of the image in the XXI sec., particularly on portrait as a genre. In the frightening leveling of art and image in the Instagram, Facebook and Happn era, he plods along in a studio-centric, brain-centric, artist-centric approach to making paintings, to realizing in form his thoughts, all in isolation and simultaneous participation. This dichotomy between the alone and the shared and the individual and the collective can also be filtered through the lens of the selfie. Each painting in selfportraitas reflects his performance as another, both as “Franklin Evans” and as “a Franklin Evans”.
In working through other art he free associates, imbibing the freedom to multi-directionally focus as the context of his study is altered by daily image feeds, the exhibitions he directly visits, and his reading. For example, in his selfportraitasfuturism or selfportraitasseverini, he started with a pixel grid scale up of a documentation image of his own watercolor cutoutsastext, itself a work using Matisse’s cutouts. Through the painting process, he recognized some parallels with Gino Severini’s 1912 composition Dynamic Hieroglyphic of the Bal Tabarin. The installation include a wall of prints of all the artists he has used in making these paintings, gazing directly at his paintings, which used their paintings, in a sense the representations of the artists stare directly at representations of themselves. Nearly eighty artists are referenced in these painting (from Titian and Matisse to Dana Schutz and Laura Owens), and also include four of his own undergraduate Cooper Union painting students. His studio of focused investigation becomes an expanded field of digital reach far beyond the time and scope that preoccupies his studio interests. Through its public presentation selfportraitas has the potential to digitally mutate to become selfieportraitas, a perversion that the artist both seek and shun.