JESSE McCLOSKEY: Making A Scene

Opening Reception Thursday, August 3, 6-9pm
August 3 - August 31, 2017

Site 57 gallery is pleased to present selected works of Jesse McCloskey. As the title implies, these paintings are about the artist’s process of staging, the riotous form, and the Pop Gothic content they impart. Playing on the traditional still life or portrait, allegorical themes of danger and uncertainty peek out from behind the curtain of an otherwise vibrant ensemble of figures, fruit, flowers, and decanters, to coax a precarious balance between pastoral and menacing. Tools of the trade, in the form of easels, brushes, palettes, and paintings, stand in and refer us to perhaps the most intimate concern of these pieces - that of the artist’s studio practice itself. McCloskey obsesses over finding the final form of a work - a pursuit of what de Kooning called “the flickering glimpse” - that is, an elusive intuition of where the painting needs to go. In one light, these paintings can be seen as a metaphor for that chase.

McCloskey makes pictures by painting sheets of paper with acrylic, aerosol and vinyl paints, cutting them into desired shapes, and adhering them to a canvas. The build up of layer upon layer of form and color through new layers and patching of previously exposed parts is repeated until a moment of “break-through” – ultimately coalescing into the final image. In parts, the viewer can see several layers down into the paintings, exposing the former structures and revealing the previous incarnations of the paintings that have been built upon in McCloskey’s journey to resolution. The final work, characterized by richly textured stained-glass-like tonal color and dynamic compositions, is often several layers thick and curling at the edges like old Bowery posters.