NEW YORK—De Buck Gallery is pleased to present “Jenny Kissed Me,” Gommaar Gilliams’ first solo exhibition in New York, marking the artist’s representation by De Buck Gallery in America. The exhibition will be on view from March 1st, 2018 through April 7th, 2018 with an opening reception on March 1st ahead of New York’s Armory Week.
Gilliams’ solo exhibition sets forth a painting process in eleven parts, demonstrating a commitment to painting as a method and as a language. Each of the eleven works presented constitute a new chapter that builds on a central narrative.
With the title, “Jenny Kissed Me,” the artist allows the viewer to plunge into an elusive memory, an allegorical world, captured in an ideal space in time with no beginning or end. Rather than evoking a concrete image, the artist wants to call up a thought process. He explores our inner child, uncompromised by the complex realities of life. In this immersive tribute to the inner child, free and imaginative, he confronts an ideal being and a being weighed down by expectations. This visual and emotional duality is an overarching theme in his work. Gilliams’ graphic vocabulary draws on these contrasting images of melancholy and longing such as day and night, or heaven and earth, to build a universally relatable fantasy world. Even the painting itself seems to be longing for a touch, a deeper inspection. The paintings consist of layers of intuitively placed elements. Together they form a textural collage of movement, longing and timeless desire. A combination of wax crayon, unruly smears of paint, vague sketches and patches of paperwork form an eclectic, rhythmic surface reaching out to the viewer. And perhaps, for a brief moment we could sense “Jenny’s kiss”…
Gommaar Gilliams’ large-scale paintings cannot be described at first glance; they combine different materials, colors, gestures, and make generous allusions to art history and symbolism. The works articulate a delicate balance between figuration and abstract painting. The dominant gestural brushstrokes and color fields may remind of the abstract expressionist tradition. Yet, universally recognizable shapes emerge from the canvas, such as umbrellas, trees, swans, architectural constructions, and a few human forms. In their style, these figures reveal a profound fascination for ancient Middle Eastern miniatures and European symbolism, the natural versus the spiritual.
Gommaar Gilliams was born in 1982 in Lier, Belgium. Graduating in visual arts from LUCA School of Arts in Brussels and having a Masters degree in Painting from PXL College in Hasselt, his large-scale paintings and textural wall hangings fuse American Abstract Expressionism with figurative elements derived from Oriental and European symbolism. Gilliams’ paintings, blankets, and works on paper (in acrylic, oil stick, pencil, or chalk) are exuberant, with a fresh and organic feel to it, reminding of the early work of Cy Twombly. Particularly striking is their scale and the subtle balance between colors, lines, streaks and surfaces, resulting in a strong dynamic. His work has been shown in several group and solo exhibitions in Belgium and abroad, and can be found in private and public collections such as the Dexia Collection. In 2015 his mentor, critically acclaimed artist Koen Van den Broeck invited Gommaar for a group presentation at Eastman Gallery. The artist currently lives and works in Hasselt, Belgium.
De Buck Gallery would like to thank Gallery Sofie van de Velde, representing Gommaar Gilliams in Belgium, for the support and collaboration.
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For further information, please contact De Buck Gallery via firstname.lastname@example.org, or +1 212 255 5735. All images courtesy of the Artist and De Buck Gallery.