Figuration Inside / Out

5 Nov 2016 – 19 Dec 2016

Nancy Margolis Gallery

New York
New York, United States


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In this group show FIGURATION INSIDE/OUT examines portraiture through the depiction of the body, mind, and spirit.


The paintings by the four accomplished artists in this exhibition were selected for their engaging personal expression, and styles. Their genre, unalike and varied, runs from realism, abstraction, narration, symbolism, patterning, and adornment.

HEIDI HOWARD paints portraits of friends, rendering and reflecting their close symbiotic relationship. The structure of each painting is based on the color feelings, style, and images inherent to the sitter. Through this approach each sitter is reflected not only in an outward likeness, but also via the paint application. The occasion of painting a particular person, for Howard, is an occasion to create a new abstract space. She reexamines the concept behind traditional portrait painting: the relationship to the sitter throughout the process, the construction of a single space with imagery and ideas, sometimes text and iconography, and finally the application of paint on the canvas. The core of Howard’s portraits is the collaborative personal flow she has with her subject.

MEGHAN HOWLAND’s paintings offer a unique range of styles and observations, and while often personal in their meaning, venture to examine larger cultural and emotional issues. Through a haze of oil paint, and sometimes flora and fauna, we are confronted by situations that are at once disarmingly beautiful, yet are infused with an implied sense of yearning, loss, or disaster. In recent work, subjects are bathed in nature in a subtle unnatural way. Naive to or unaffected by what is happening around them, figures are often used to explore issues of fragility, identity, and our individual understandings of nature in regard to our own personal, somewhat obscure relationship to it.

AUBREY LEVINTHAL subject’s come from Levinthal’s personal experiences grandiose or mundane; a trip to Paris, a gallery opening, eating, sleeping. Any visual experience is on the table as a point of departure. Through the process of making the painting, pulling from distorted memory and attempting to satisfy formal concerns of composition, color and structure invariably arrive at some new, unforeseen place. Space might be flattened, color deepened, multiple experiences layered. When the imagery is heightened by these formal shifts, when form and content seem somehow equally present and aware of each other that is the stopping point. The artist’s comment, “when the paintings possess their own bizarre, visual moment much like the initial visual spark that implored me to make a painting in the first place, I am satisfied.”

SYLVIA NAIMARK‘s paintings, dark and moody, search to describe the emotions trapped in-between a collective consciousness and the personal self. They reflect everything that feels inevitable, something implicit that she can’t let go of and needs to be visualized. There is no predisposed program. The initial idea is rarely presented in the outcome and if so, it has been filtered through a tumultuous untraceable maze. Collected items, drawings, documents and photos, can all be distilled down into an integral part of Naimark’s painting process. The figures are all residents of the borderland where abstraction meets actuality. One work adds to the next in an unorganized stream of thought and experience. They bear different messages and represent spiritual possibilities and new meanings to established episodes that were, will and will never be. There might be a hidden narrative in the works and the artist says might because they are undefined to even to her. Animals appear as bearers of serene messages. They represent our inner and most intimate way of handling others and ourselves. A transient memory of another memory can describe life, death, and everything in between in natural way as if they never happened.

VICTORIA ROTH makes large abstract paintings that are of the body. Roth paints to articulate a new subjective body that is pulpous, beastly, active. The making process mobilizes her physicality intensily— Roth adds, rubs, sands, brushes, and erases to activate the surfaces into beings. A sense of urgency through movement and rhythm pulsates within a structured play between color, line and anthropomorphic shapes. Suffused with inner light, Roth’s language of amassed marks and traces releases a temperature and a sense of mood specific in each work.

What to expect? Toggle

Exhibiting artists

Meghan Howland

Sylvia Naimark

Victoria Roth

Heidi Howard

Aubrey Levinthal


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