FRIDAY, JANUARY 9, 2015, 7 - 9 PM

GARBOUSHIAN GALLERY is pleased to present the third solo gallery exhibition of artist Max Presneill in TRIUMVIRATE.

TRIUMVIRATE will explore a body of work that acts as a culmination of a long journey through the complex themes of history, politics, class, power, and empire, among others. The final forms of this series are originally distilled from the more specific and overtly figurative qualities of Presneill's immediately previous work.

Presneill previously explored historical figures, using them as vessels for complex thought and ideologies embedded in their historical significance. Within the flurry of this imagery and expression, TRIUMVIRATE's particular set of formal motifs began to emerge, inspired by contemporary politics and a form of existential philosophy.

Rectangular blocks of color, or "redactions," serve to block and obscure parts of the compositions, while the counterpoint elements of the zig-zag graffiti tags quickly establish a new binary logic and metaphor for paintings that read as non-mimetic in what they depict. In some, the back and forth of these symbols of oppression and resistance occupy pictorial layers above flat grounds, implying impending battles. Other paintings have backgrounds built up of characteristic layers of history and texture, as if it were evidence of longer, bloodier struggles.


A succinct visual style unfolds across the works-a style that shares aesthetic variables with Hans Hoffman, Günther Förg, Albert Oehlen, and others.

In Presneill's work, redaction marks attempt to exist on the topmost, overseeing layer of a physical and conceptual space that only draws more attention to the hidden layers below. The canvases retain the anxious, urgent quality of the imagery from his earlier work, as well as the rhythmic, chess-game-like exchange of marks that forge the history of the paintings' own coalescence.

Far from arbitrary, the composition of each work in TRIUMVIRATE utilizes Presneill's experienced intuition paired with syntactical variations allowed by his established visual dyad. The visual relationship between the redaction mark and the graffiti mark successfully carry both painterly and conceptual significance, bringing more weight to each mark separately and together.

Modernist abstraction's links to radicalism and revolution are easily forgotten in our current age. In the face of recent political and social rebellion and in light of the tragic police brutalities across the country, Presneill contends that TRIUMVIRATE offers an ongoing commentary. One that recognizes that what we refer to as abstract painting, as part of a tradition that often challenged the abuse of power, has idealistic roots in social awareness and forms of activism and can still have a part to play in our continuing dialogue for the future. TRIUMVIRATE sees Presneill's work redirected towards an increasingly critically engaged notion of the power and possibility inherent in 'abstraction', reacting with an urgency dictated by histories we may very well be in danger of repeating.

An opening reception for Max Presneill's TRIUMVIRATE will take place at Garboushian Gallery on Friday, January 9, 2015 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. The exhibition will remain on view until February 12, 2015.