A Summer of solos - Art Collector

  Cy Gavin, Spittal Pond, Bermuda, 2015. Acrylic, oil, chalk, staples on canvas, 58 x 72“. Courtesy: the artist and Sargent’s Daughters, New York

By Jess Holburn

This month Sargent's Daughters presents Overture, the first solo exhibition of New York-based painter Cy Gavin. The series comprises 12 mixed-media paintings, each striking in their vibrant colours and unorthodox textures. Taking his cues from the writings of W.E.B Du Bois, West African objects and his own complex personal experiences, Gavin taps into the "double consciousness" of being both African American and American.

These portrayals of isolated figures hovering and emerging from within a landscape are allegorical, haunting and spiritual. The erasure of the surface across the canvases are a metaphor for African culture in American history. Bermuda is a particularly striking piece, with the black legs of a figure punctured with staples protruding from an imagined landscape, symbolic of abuse and affliction. Gavin was born in Pittsburgh in 1985. He currently lives and works in New York City, where he is an MFA candidate at Columbia University. The show has thus far received critical attention from ARTnews, Huffington Post, and Timeout among others, indicative of a very promising future for the artist. Joseph R. Wolin of Timeout writes: “Cy Gavin paints like the love child of Kerry James Marshall and Peter Doig … Matching painterly skill to a cannily eloquent materiality.” Six of the 10 paintings in the exhibition have already found homes with private collectors.

Not far from here, The Lodge Gallery opened Elizabeth Livingston’s solo Night Fell. These feminine, almost Gregory Crewdson-esque hyperrealist paintings of women in isolated domestic environments are mysteriously intimate. A Yale and Boston University graduate and long time familiar face in Boston and greater New England, Livingston’s work is just now taking off in New York. Livingston has been included in numerous exhibitions in Boston, New Haven, Fort Worth, and New York City, among others. She has been an artist in residence at the Vermont Studio Center and the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming and recently closed a solo exhibition at the University of Maine Museum of Art.


  Elizabeth Livingston, Before I Could Answer, 2015. Oil on linen, 72 x 84”. Courtesy: artist and The Lodge Gallery, New York

Several pre-sales were made and several more following the opening reception, generating interest from bright young emerging collectors through to seasoned collectors of modern masters.

Gallerist Jason Patrick Voegele says: “I think Elizabeth’s paintings are so appealing because beyond the beauty and incredible rendering, the imagery is so approachable and familiar. The response we have received from visitors and collectors alike has only reinforced our perception of the work having a depth far beyond the obsessively ornate surfaces. There is a voyeuristic, cinematic tension or an exposure of the invisible vulnerability of suburban middle class life in all the work, many are self-portraits. Success and security play tug of war with intimacy and loneliness in many of the pieces and I think most people can relate to that experience either in their own lives or vicariously through family or friends.”

These shows further prove the case that August is not at all a dead month for art in New York; it is rather an exciting time to discover the unexpected.

Cy Gavin’s Overture at Sargent’s Daughters runs from 15 July to 21 August 2015.

Elizabeth Livingston’s Night Fell at The Lodge Gallery from 5 August to 6 September 2015.


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