Phantom Limb

4 August - 9 September 2016

Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present Phantom Limb, an exhibition featuring five artists whose works operate between figuration and abstraction. The term phantom limb describes the illusion of feeling a body part when the actual limb is missing, and the works in this exhibition speak to the felt presence of the body released from a representation of the figure. The artists explore constructions of personal narrative, specific moments of cultural upheaval, the complexity of human psychology, and the physicality of the body itself.


The works of Houston-based Trenton Doyle Hancock interlace personal memoir with the history of painting and pop-cultural pulp imagery. The artist transforms formal decisions—the use of color, language, and pattern—into opportunities to build narrative, develop sub-plots, and overturn symbolic meaning. Infused with mythologies presented at an operatic scale, his exuberant and subversive storylines employ a variety of cultural tropes, ranging in tone from comic-strip superhero battles to medieval morality, where text and abstraction both drive and complicate the narrative. 


Based in Los Angeles, Wendell Gladstone interrogates the hierarchical struggle among a cast of characters as they cycle through chronicles of rapture, unrest, and revolt. With source material ranging from historical European satirical cartoons to Aztec stone carvings, his paintings survey the boundless energy of the human psyche. With a bright, often candy-colored palette layered with transparent mediums that subtly reveal the forms beneath, his works immediately seduce the viewer and only later reveal psychologically charged subtexts. 


The recent paintings of Los Angeles-based Maja Ruznic present complex compositions that signal forgotten histories held within the body. Using rich pigments rubbed directly into canvas, the artist creates stains that bleed together to conjure bodily forms that are without a clear boundary. The result is an amalgamation of porous shapes that are infinite and ever changing, and that reference the transcendental nature of the mind and spirit contained within the body.


Figuratively ambiguous and politically surreal, the paintings of La Cienega, NM-based Scott Anderson build upon and complicate a foundation of pre-war European Modernism. Steeped in a concern with periods of social upheaval, Anderson’s dreamlike works often dissolve into dystopia. Appropriating personal and culturally loaded images alike, Anderson removes and abstracts content, creating a tangible distance between the viewer and the pictorial source.


The sculptures of San Francisco-based May Wilson have an implied instability that creates palpable tension. They begin as material explorations of vinyl, industrial felt, nylon strapping, and concrete that rely on the architectural structures around them for physical support. Clumsy and fragile, the sculptures oscillate between domineering anthropomorphic forms and naïve objects. Viewers experience the work viscerally, perceiving their own corporeal being relative to the scale and weight of the objects. 

Installation Views