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    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Current Exhibition

SELECTED WORKS BY Michael Phelan

The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 1)
Michael Phelan
The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 1)

2005

Dye on linen

203 x 173 cm
Huge, wall-sized sheets of linen are stained with concentric rings of blazing colour. The technique is immediately recognizable: tie-dye, an ancient Eastern process of textile design appropriated by the American counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s as a by-word for peace, freedom and protest against the Vietnam War, which has long since entered the western world's fashion mainstream.
Its use here as a form of artistic expression is a very deliberate choice on the part of the artist, as too is the scale and palette of the various untitled works. The paintings are as American as Bugs Bunny and pecan pie, open plains on which past meets present to paint a new American landscape; the Manifest Destiny tailored to a modernist sensibility. Stretched and framed, they represent something of an anomaly. Walking the line between high and low art, mass production and hand-made craft, the works knowingly reference several of America's most iconic visual images.
The considerable size of the works is rooted in the Abstract Expressionist heroism of Jackson Pollock, Barrnett Newman, and those that followed them, while their palette abandons the acidic psychedelia traditionally associated with tie-dye imagery in favour of the lyrical hues reminiscent of Colour Field artists such as Morrris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Noland. Continuing the experiments begun by Turner, Kandsinsky and Albers, this latter group was interested in the atmospheric effects of colour, enveloping the viewer in an impersonal and unashamedly two-dimensional environment on a monumental scale.
The dominant motif in each of Phelan's works, a target, is similarly borrrowed from the Color Field lexicon, specifically the paintings made by Noland between 1958-62. They were not intended to be read as targets per se, unlike those that Jasper Johns was producing at around the same time. Rather, the target functioned as it had several decades earlier in the work of Robert Delaunay: as a purely formal device, devoid of narrative or overtly personal expression and well suited to the artist's investigations into abstraction.
Aligning the colours in dense rings serves to concentrate their effects and intensify their relationships. Some recede quietly while others advance, pulsating with life. The process by which the works are created is of less importance than the choice of their colours, which is made by the artist with the aid of a computerised pantone. When this has been done, the physical act of production is entrusted to a specialized workshop in the artist's home state of Texas. Chance of course plays its part, dictating the way in which different dyes will react and determining the extent of irregularity in the the staining at the rings' edges.
The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 3)
Michael Phelan
The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 3)

2005

Dye on linen

203 x 173 cm
Huge, wall-sized sheets of linen are stained with concentric rings of blazing colour. The technique is immediately recognizable: tie-dye, an ancient Eastern process of textile design appropriated by the American counter-culture of the 1960s and 70s as a by-word for peace, freedom and protest against the Vietnam War, which has long since entered the western world's fashion mainstream.
Its use here as a form of artistic expression is a very deliberate choice on the part of the artist, as too is the scale and palette of the various untitled works. The paintings are as American as Bugs Bunny and pecan pie, open plains on which past meets present to paint a new American landscape; the Manifest Destiny tailored to a modernist sensibility. Stretched and framed, they represent something of an anomaly. Walking the line between high and low art, mass production and hand-made craft, the works knowingly reference several of America's most iconic visual images. The considerable size of the works is rooted in the Abstract Expressionist heroism of Jackson Pollock, Barrnett Newman, and those that followed them, while their palette abandons the acidic psychedelia traditionally associated with tie-dye imagery in favour of the lyrical hues reminiscent of Colour Field artists such as Morrris Louis, Helen Frankenthaler and Kenneth Noland. Continuing the experiments begun by Turner, Kandsinsky and Albers, this latter group was interested in the atmospheric effects of colour, enveloping the viewer in an impersonal and unashamedly two-dimensional environment on a monumental scale.
The dominant motif in each of Phelan's works, a target, is similarly borrrowed from the Color Field lexicon, specifically the paintings made by Noland between 1958-62. They were not intended to be read as targets per se, unlike those that Jasper Johns was producing at around the same time. Rather, the target functioned as it had several decades earlier in the work of Robert Delaunay: as a purely formal device, devoid of narrative or overtly personal expression and well suited to the artist's investigations into abstraction.
Aligning the colours in dense rings serves to concentrate their effects and intensify their relationships. Some recede quietly while others advance, pulsating with life. The process by which the works are created is of less importance than the choice of their colours, which is made by the artist with the aid of a computerised pantone. When this has been done, the physical act of production is entrusted to a specialized workshop in the artist's home state of Texas. Chance of course plays its part, dictating the way in which different dyes will react and determining the extent of irregularity in the the staining at the rings' edges.
The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 11)
Michael Phelan
The Best Way Out Is Through (No. 11)

2006

Dye on linen

228 x 180 cm

Michael Phelan's BIOGRAPHY

Michael Phelan
Born in 1968, Beaumont, Texas
Lives and works in New York City



SOLO EXHIBITIONS



2006
If today was perfect, there would be no need for tomorrow, Gallerie Edward Mitterrand,
Geneva

2005
We do not remember days, We remember moments, Daniel Reich Gallery, New York

2003
The Giving Tree, in collaboration w/ Jonah Freeman, John Connelly Presents, New York

2002
Spring rain on my roof begins to drum: Drips from the willow, petals from the plum, Leo Koenig, New York

2001
Project Room, Artist Space, New York
Everything is getting better everyday, Homeroom, Munich

1999
Too much of a good thing can be wonderful, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

1997
Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York


GROUP EXHIBITIONS



2006

Upstate, Mary Boone, New York
Fountains, D'Amelio Terras, New York
Tempest, The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY
Bring the War Home, QED Gallery, Los Angeles
Bring the War Home, Elizabeth Dee, New York
The Galleries Show, Extra City Center for Contemporary Art, Antwerp
Slow Burn, Gallerie Edward Mitterrand, Geneva
Untitled, John Connelly Presents, New York

2005
A Walk In the Park, Sculpture Center, L.I. City
Treading Water, Ballroom, Marfa
The Feraliminal Lycanthropizer, Champion Fine Art, Los Angeles
Good Titles from Bad Books, Kevin Bruk Gallery, Miami
This Must Be The Place, Center for Curtorial Studies, Bard College
Annandale-on-Hudson

2004
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Project, New York
Cave Canem, John Connelly Presents, New York

2003
Social Fabric, Lothringer Dreizehn, Munich
High Desert Test Sites #2, A-Z West, Joshua Tree
How come...?, Stux Gallery, New York

2002
Painting as Paradox, Artist Space, New York
Leo Koenig Las Vegas, Las Vegas
Retrofit, Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York

2001
View 5, Mary Boone, New York
Solisitous Elders, Green Gallery, Geneva
Work, Folin/ Riva, New York
arch, Sara Moody Gallery, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

2000
Greater New York, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center/ MOMA, L.I. City, New York
Unbottled, Hammond Museum, North Salem, New York
Dusk, I-20 Gallery, New York
Tomorrow, Rare, New York
La Ville/Le Jardin/La Memoire, Accademia di Francia/ Villa Medici, Rome
Nothing, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York
A Plurality of Truths, Schick Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York
arch, Work Space, New York

1999
Summer Exhibition, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

1998
Raise the Roof, White Columns, New York