Glossolalia and Other Stories


Does the Instinctive Eye of a Curator Influence the Hand of an Artist?

In Max Presneill's case, the answer is yes. As a museum curator, Max Presneill has shown artists such as Damien Hirst, Chuck Close, Peter Alexander, Ruben Ochoa, KAWS, and Steve Roden. As an artist, he draws on a wide range of influences, from Picasso to Billy the Kid to 007.

Many within the art community know Max Presneill as curator for the Torrance Art Museum, a regional art museum that has brought many of the contemporary art world's most respected names to the South Bay region of Los Angeles. Few however know that Presneill is an artist too, and a prime example of a growing wave of artist/curators whose hands and eyes are currently influencing the art world. Opening September 11, 2010, 6 to 9pm, GARBOUSHIAN GALLERY in Beverly Hills will debut Glossolalia and Other Stories, an exhibition of paintings by UK-born, Los Angeles-based Max Presneill.

Curators and artists are often seen as occupying opposite sides of the same equation, that of the exhibitor and the exhibited. The ability to synthesize large amounts of information to compose disparate pieces into a compelling whole is key to being both a good artist and a good curator. Nowhere is such an elaborate orchestration better demonstrated than in Presneill's work. In Glossolalia and Other Stories, Max Presneill is a curator on canvas.

Max Presneill

In fact, Presneill quotes an unusual list of connections that enter his work, including Picasso, the Sphinx, Albrecht Durer, Peter Pan, Billy the Kid, Gericault, Pandora, Wyatt Earp, Thor, Odin's Ravens, Prometheus, Icarus, Jonny Quest, the Minotaur, and 007.

In Glossolalia and Other Stories, Presneill Marries Complex Influences to Achieve a Composed Chaos. As an artist who holds two MFA's, he picked up a paintbrush long before receiving his first curatorial credit. Presneill produces work that elegantly illustrates the concept of a curator on canvas. The work in Glossolalia and Other Stories yields a dense field of influences, from which the artist mines art, history, myth and contemporary fiction to uncover intricate relationships rich with connections, created by Presneill's clear vision and mastery of technique and composition.

Presneill, every bit as much a quick-witted scholar of art as he is an artist, explains his upcoming exhibition of work titled Glossolalia and Other Stories:

"Glossolalia is commonly called "speaking in tongues". It is comprised of, mostly verbal, utterances with a rhythm and syllables that resemble words from the native language of the speaker, organized to sound like language but lacking communicative relationships to meaning and thus is essentially nonsense in a social sense although subjectively related to a greater truth for the speaker. In my work, images are taken from multiple sources and situated in a collage-like manner to establish personalized narratives that intersect personal histories and mythologies with culturally shared source materials to form stories that question notions of shared knowledge, narrative as mythology, subjectivity and painting as an existential process of the Self."

Spoken like a true curator. And artist.

Glossolalia and Other Stories will be on view from September 11 to October 16, 2010 at GARBOUSHIAN GALLERY. The opening reception is Saturday, September 11, from 6 to 9 pm.