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Artist's Reception: Arne Svenson at Julie Saul Gallery

Posted By Administration, Saturday, April 20, 2013
Updated: Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Neighbors

Exhibition Dates: May 9-June 29, 2013

Artist's Reception:
Saturday, May 11
6:00 - 8:00 pm


The work of self-taught artist, Arne Svenson has its own whit and moves from subject to subject in ways that may first seem without thread. Deeper engagement with his work reveals that it is unified by a unique sense of humor and fatalism as well as a social anthropological view. Past subjects have included flora, sock monkeys, prisoners, and forensic sculptures. The trigger for Svenson's subjects have been random experiences that places new objects or equipment in his hands, and all of the past work has been confined to studio practice. His new series,The Neighbors, however, was sparked by a bird watching telephoto lens, and caused Svenson to looks outward. The executed works are voyeuristic, but also undeniably fascinating studies on the behavior of neighbors in an opposing high-rise.

Svenson sits in wait, like James Stewart in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, "waiting for those curtains to part again and for the tableaux to materialize" (Saul Press Release). Svenson views the process as a performance- his subjects appear on a stage of their own creation and move in roles of their own design. The images Svenson brings to us are surprisingly elegant, formal, and strangely recall palate and rhythm of art history's masters from Delacroix to Vermeer. The muted saturation and folding cloth in a wrapped curtain and the lines of a blue rain jacket in Neighbors #2 is truncated and curious but particularly painterly. Window panes create a gridded structure that divides, balances, or fractures frames; curtains both obscure and reveal secrets. Neighbors #1 is cool, quiet and balanced and features a couple at what we imagine to be their breakfast table, and the frames of glass enrich the sense of balance and structure to the interior view. Other frames cut our access to a scene and we are left to guess at situations, as in Neighbors #8 where a seated pregnant woman sits in profile her arms wound behind her back, or the calamitous dispute leading to continued attack among siblings in Neighbors #6 where sister and brother are being literally separated. All of these works call for applied narrative and since they leave everything ambiguous, open, and unexplained we find ourselves in Svenson's place, quietly watching and wondering at what is happening behind the glass.


For more information, please contact Julie Saul Gallery

Review in Photograph Magazine

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