HESSE FLATOW is pleased to present LOST WORLD, a three-person show addressing longing and the nostalgia for place, a kind of ache for the location of origin and desire. Each of these artists seeks to formulate a realizable world, a world which in a sense is a microcosm of an imagined or remembered world. Their narratives both invent and distance, inscribing again and again the gap between signifier and signified, objectifying the places of their desire.
Alexander Harrison utilizes visual tropes such as borders, windows, and enclosures to transform the two-dimensional picture plane into a portal in which a viewer looks, but to which cannot return – such as a vast rural landscape through the bars of a prison cell. By drawing attention to the distance between viewer and subject via these framing devices, he evokes a sense of incapacity, longing, intimacy, and voyeurship similar to his own experience. Within the frame, his imagery ranges from subtle and sublime landscapes, to contrastingly graphic surrealistic depictions of race and black culture in America.
Barry Hazard offers transcendent and simultaneous views of worlds, trapped outside the possibility of a lived reality. Through the use of scale, his miniature forms are manipulated by individual fantasy rather than by physical circumstance. Hazard’s diorama-like paintings are derived from landscape archetypes of beauty, such as mountains, sunsets, forests and bodies of water. Recognizing the common and collective love for these subjects, as spaces for contemplation and surrendering to something larger and more timeless than us, Hazard also sees conflicts, whether perceived or actual that imply environmental, political, cultural or historical issues. The process of creating these pictures is as much about the mitigation of these potentially contaminated and conflicted subjects, as trying to reimagine beauty. His most recent “Minis” are a simple way to rapidly engage in an artistic process with an ultra-manageable scale reflecting the need for immediacy, intimacy and a greater economy of space and time during this time of COVID.
Quentin James McCaffrey’s worlds are of an arrested time, a stillness emphasizing the activity that is outside its borders. Using single-point perspective, layers of oil paint on panel or canvas, and treatment of light, he renders domestic interior spaces. These paintings draw from Quattrocento Italian painting and 17th century Dutch interiors in their use of simple geometry, symbolism, as well as in their stoicism. In western painting, the domestic interior has been a place for investigating the psyche and intimate relationships. Referencing also the nostalgia of 19th century academic painting, these works allow a space for questioning the forgetful serenity those paintings often depict and acknowledge an undercurrent of a more complex reality. Drawing a parallel between intimate personal experience and imperfect historic narratives, the paintings in this body of work compare the domestic and psychological interior, and how they are mutually symbolic and influential.