© William Anskis

William Anskis: Black Star Chamber, 2007
Acrylic and enamel on aluminum panel, 72" x 72"

William Anskis

Nic Rad
Barry and the Universe

To mark its 10th anniversary, RARE is pleased to announce William Anskis' first ever solo exhibition of paintings entitled "Thrones". These glossy, highly saturated mixed media works on aluminum panel depict abstracted architectural spaces reminiscent of sci-fi cinema, cartoons, and early video game technology. Like paused video screens that draw in the viewer's mesmerized gaze, these paintings seem frozen in a moment of flux, creating a sense of uncertainty of being neither here nor there.

Among the seven works on exhibit, some are minimally composed while others are in a fragmented state as they seem to be trying to pull themselves together into singular structures. Anskis' quasi-abstracted expressionist layering of paint combines with (and counterbalances) underlying planes of simple geometric shapes and lines to create vivid, Technicolor palettes within illusions of deconstructed spaces, patterns, and repetitions. The visual tension engendered by the nonsensical spatial relationships and the competing surface qualities, colors, and shapes creates a claustrophobic atmosphere, while the thick application of paint counteracts the illusion of space the artist has created. The paintings signify the virtual space of digitization while simultaneously mimicking the medium to which they allude.

Sharing the same scale and formal motifs, the two largest works in the show ("Creep (Fading)" and "Creep (In Bloom)", both 2007) depict the deconstructed architecture of a Storm Trooper mask from the sci-fi classic "Star Wars". Anskis was drawn to the fictional characters' aggressive nature as well as the mask's relationship to modernist geometric abstraction. Using the mask as a starting point, he reduces it to its simplest form so that the paintings become symbols, or spaces, of power and aggression. He intentionally uses the large scale of the works to reinforce this feeling so that they tower over viewers like intimidators or bullies. Although the two paintings structurally are exact clones of each other, they exhibit disparate personalities. "Creep (In Bloom)" appears to be at the height of its powers while its counterpart, "Creep (Fading)", seems to be depleted of its powers as it disappears into the aluminum panel.

Anskis received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2003 and his MFA from Goldsmiths College in 2006. In 2007, he participated in a group exhibition at Gallery Michael Janssen in Cologne, Germany.

© Nic Rad

Nic Rad: Where Are the Ones Who Have Fasted?, 2007
Oil on unstretched polyester, 78" x 84"

In RARE PLUS, Nic Rad presents a new series of mixed media works entitled "Barry and the Universe". The show's title references both the continuous bombardment of non-stop 24-hour news networks, talk radio shows, and podcasts to which the artist subjects himself while working in his studio as well as the metaphorical clichés embodied in notions of beauty, world conflict, and the mythical rise and fall of childhood idols like Barry Bonds. Mired in the contradictions of making "political art" in a market driven economy, Rad instead finds influences in artists such as Dix, Ensor, and R. Crumb, whose idiosyncratic voices personalize human and global conflict. The artist develops his narratives from abstract marks and cartoons them toward clarity to create epics that imagine the role of humans in the universe as volatile, mystical, and consuming. As they battle for ethical, logical, moral, and physical identity, Rad's characters seem caught up in the debate over group dynamics and social systems, overwhelmed by external forces beyond their control or comprehension.

Exhibition January 5 - February 2, 2008

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and Monday by appointment.

521 West 26th Street
USA-New York, NY 10001
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