Reinvention, recollection, and rediscovery. These are the thematic elements that dominate Realizations, a new exhibition of Samuel Stabler’s works at the Victori+Mo Gallery. Reimaginings of the past are brought to life in a colorful display of artistic craft.
Realizations by Samuel Stabler at the Victori+Mo Gallery focused on four principle works, the small showcase manages to demonstrate Stabler’s range. Of the four, two are sculptures, a first for the artist. One sculpture constructs a contrast of image and color; two monarch butterflies, blue and black, fluttering upon a bright yellow light fixture. Simple, yet stylistic, the painted carving is a good representation of Stabler’s visual vocabulary.
The Georgia-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s other sculpture captures a greater complexity. A monochromatic vase overflows with life, the floral composition dipped with meticulous color. Here, a green rose, a wilted amber orchid, a lime hyacinth, a crimson dahlia. This rich display of colors seems all the more vivid against the grayscale. At the bouquet’s base, flora and fauna lay in juxtaposition. While the sculpture vibrates with originality, it is not once, but twice derived.
Reconstructed by memory, the florid statue was based on the painting that hangs behind it, which in turn is a recycled illustration of a Dutch still life. Realizations plays with this idea of appropriation, unapologetically recreating images of more popular renown. Stabler utilizes inspiration from the ‘Old Masters,’ a broad term referring to the golden age of art, to present a message on repurposing style, in the age of digital abundance. By redesigning familiar portraits with polychromatic accents, Stabler reaffirms the adage that all artists steal.
Victori+Mo Gallery’s white aesthetic provides a blank slate for Stabler’s alternative works. These are composed of a series of transparent ink drawings, transposed over continuous colors. The drawings are drawn from classic American iconography. While it may seem a unusual choice, the cinematic Western builds on the motif on juxtaposition. Aligned in glass, each sketching represents a reinvention of the rugged Cowboy; the Magnificent Seven, True Grit, Clint Eastwood’s Man with no Name, and John Wayne are but a few of the examples. With an eye for fine detail, the artist conveys these representations of traditional masculinity against the vibrant pastel shades in pleasant contrast.
Samuel Stabler’s Realizations does a respectable job of representing Victori+Mo’s theory of presenting art “not limited to any single doctrine.” Realizations is a showing of creativity that doesn’t constrain itself to any one medium or methodology, developing a message that recreates without imposing, crafted with concise detail and artistic juxtaposing. The exhibit will be on display at the Victori+Mo gallery until April 23, 2017.