[imagebrowser id=103] In my personal opinion, the artist is forced to distill and be flawless in his execution when confronted with two things – the positive and negative. In the noble quest to harness or find the balance between two such opposing but inextricably connected forces – dark and light, Eugene Lemay presented a very stark and adventurous journey into the portals of darkness with his new show “Navigator” at Mike Weiss Gallery.
 
Arte Fuse got a preview of Lemay’s work earlier this month through a preview of the MANA Contemporary Arts Center, which was co-founded by Lemay. In his studio, the panels measuring 20 feet long were entirely black upon first glance with a brush like stroke of some ghostly horizon but upon closer inspection you can make out scrawled letters. It had a subliminal impact that made you want to re-examine it again but this time finding yourself absorbed into the very lush and seductive landscape.
 
For this exhibition in the gallery, the immense works of inkjet print on archival paper were directly adhered to the gallery walls to give viewers an unobstructed line of vision but at the same time facilitates a reflective mood. The title of the exhibition is derived from Lemay’s time spent as a navigator in the Israeli Army where it was his main function to plot and ascertain where to move on foot during the night. The dense dark sections of the works are actually Hebrew scrawls that were layered numerous times are collections of old handwritten letters never sent to families of fallen soldiers with whom Lemay served.
 
The crux of this poignant element into the work serves as enlightenment for the artist by revisiting the letters and the rich luxurious abstract treatment was a result of digitized marks built up. This figuratively brings forth a journey of remembrance that eventually navigates one out of the dark. If Mark Rothko were in the age of digital technology and blasted his works on steroids, he would have created this mega-portals of reflection and self-navigated place of somber realization. But Eugene Lemay gets the audacious task of creating such works and employing a gracious hand to craft it.
 
Eugene Lemay: Navigator / On View: March 29 – April 28, 2012
Gallery Schedule: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm) & by appointment
Mike Weiss Gallery – 520 West 24th Street. New York, NY 10011
 
article by: Oscar A. Laluyan

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