January 14 – February 4, 2017
KP Projects Los Angeles
By SHANA NYS DAMBROT, JAN. 2017
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.” -- Jack Kerouac
In her exhibition of new works on canvas and panel, Hueman (the nom de brosse of street and studio painter Allison Tinati) depicts life on the highway. In so doing she captures not only the recognizable imagery of visions split between horizons and rearview mirrors, factories and farms; but also the ambiguous in-between feeling of being in motion, of departing and arriving at the same time, fast. She calls this feeling (and the show) Hyperlimbo; these paintings are what that state of mind looks like. Hyperlimbo is both a nearly-real place and an elusive continuum; a diary of a recent spate of travel between Oakland and LA -- and the road proves as sturdy and expansive a metaphor as ever. Visual art’s alchemical capacity to resolve these paradoxes rises like the road to meet Hueman’s own unique, deepening penchant for combining gestural abstraction with fine rendering of portraiture and graphic elements. In Hyperlimbo her style suits her significance perfectly. If anything, the moniker could be more than one show’s title -- it could be the name of her full maturing style.
“I saw God in the sky in the form of huge gold sunburning clouds above the desert…” Kerouac himself was more than familiar with the 300-mile stretch of the Interstate-5 between LA and Oakland. It is an endless unwinding scroll of asphalt, access roads, patchwork farmland, parsed orchards, 18-wheelers, distant mountains, dusty valleys, grassy knolls, candy-coated skies, epic cloud formations, and sudden reservoirs. Its arrow-straight vectors tempt the speeder, its vast syncopated vistas hypnotize driver and passenger alike. It’s the perfect road trip for existential contemplation; the kind of route that remains forever strange in defiance of frequent travel. To evoke and depict this strangeness she blends the dynamism of a supercharged neon-inflected palette of gold, aqua, fuschia, chartreuse, mango, violet, and carmine with gradient atmospheric backgrounds, naturalistic shapes, moving portraiture, geometric structures and prismatic effects.
The choreography of hard and soft, dreamlike and developed that plays out in her eyes and mind on the interstate unfold with intensified dramatic effect on the canvas, explosive in frozen simultaneity. Underscoring this hybrid perspective, she titles each painting with both a variety of experience and the specific place it happened -- for example the warm embrace of Crash (Mercy Springs), the feisty introspection of Emotional Landscapes (Lost Hills), and the epic landscape anatomy of the masterpiece Flying Through the Final Stretch (Grapevine). Each work is in different ways emblematic of her seamless merging of disparate techniques for clouds and faces, laser beams and treelines, memories and anticipations, shape and color, technique and impulse.
She uses both acrylic and spray-paint, employing brush and aerosol, pours and action-splatters. The variable textures they provide she wields expertly to reinforce the variability of her imagery. The mediums by her easel are the same she favors in her acclaimed street and mural works, brought to the service of self-expression now via the wrist and elbow instead of the cannister and shoulder. The confident painterly nuance in the softer passages, and the thin crispness of line in the pictorial parts -- these and other delights can here be encompassed up close. Gesture and texture get to have their say in a different way at this more intimate scale. Like the feeling of Hyperlimbo itself, these paintings portray and embody the paradox of enclosed space and open road, past and future, travel and arrival, courage and imagination. After all, like Kerouac says, “The road must eventually lead to the whole world.” WM
Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic, curator, and author based in Downtown LA. She is the Arts Editor for the LA Weekly, and a contributor to Whitehot Magazine, KCET’s Artbound, Flaunt, Fabrik, Art and Cake, Artillery, Palm Springs Life, Riot Material, West Hollywood Lifestyle, Jenkem, and Porter & Sail. She studied Art History at Vassar College, writes essays for books and exhibition catalogs, curates and juries a few exhibitions each year, is a dedicated Instagram photographer and author of experimental short fiction, and speaks at galleries, schools, and cultural institutions nationally. She sits on the Boards of Art Share-LA and the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art, the Advisory Council of Building Bridges Art Exchange, and the Brain Trust of Some Serious Business.
Photo of Shana Nys Dambrot by Osceola Refetoff
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