Like the unreliable nature of memory and the imprecise atmosphere of poetry, Kanevsky’s multilayered works provide more questions than answers. These paintings combine abstraction and figuration in layered, painterly compositions in which the artist strives to push the viewer into narrative engagement with the work. Across the more than twenty new paintings in this exhibition, Kanevsky makes experimental forays into new stylistic territory but remains true to his signature focus on the figure in abstract space.
The works in this exhibition offer glimpses into exquisitely rendered spaces and hauntingly unfamiliar narratives. Their beautifully handled surfaces shimmer and shift, refusing to settle into one definitive interpretation. By leaving generous space for ambiguity, the paintings instead act as mirrors, reflecting narratives brought by the viewer. Kanevsky’s imagined landscapes and imprecise interiors question the relationship between material and subject by allowing scenes to materialize while maintaining the primacy of paint itself.
Kanevsky feels a deep connection to art history, and particularly to the old masters of portraiture, Rembrandt and Velázquez. His own work opens up similarly intimate dialogues between artist and model, and he relishes the kinetic energy of working with live bodies. The artist was born in Russia in 1963 and studied theoretical mathematics at Vilnius University in Lithuania before coming to the United States in the early 1980s. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1989-93 and now teaches at the same institution. Kanevsky won a Pew Fellowship in 1997, and has exhibited his work throughout the United States, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. He continues to live and work in Philadelphia.
Alex Kanevsky: Some Paintings In No Particular Style will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, including two enlightening new essays on the artist. Dr. C.D.C. Reeve, distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of many books on ancient philosophy and the philosophy of sex and love, provides a poetic reading of Kanevsky’s deeply evocative creations, and art historian Ashley Park provides an insightful consideration of the new works based on a recent interview with the artist.