In a suite of large-scale abstract paintings that subtly evoke narratives, Rogers invites us to witness his most intimate works to date. Produced in the course of the last few months these paintings stand before us like characters acting towards an unknown end. Some of the most visceral works in his career, Les Rogers presents his 9th solo show in New York.
“On Our Way” offers a group of paintings which, unlike previous efforts, do not contain glints of painted realism, layers of quotations, or specific popular and historical allusions. Each work takes shape initially from impulse, freshly drawn by figuration intermixed with areas of saturated pure color. The viewer encounters shapes protruding and expanding to form a world of their own.
In “Fearless”, vertical planes of color on the right side of the painting read as cloaked figures that converse with a playfully and richly colored protagonist on the left. Unexpected combinations of color and shape trigger the viewer’s curiosity as to the nature of the scene, leaving a constant quest for stability in the oscillation between abstraction and figuration. This motion is the main driving force for the painting’s sense of “becoming”.
Other titles in the show imply activities and movements: “Leader”, “Watching Over” and “On Our Way” which provides the show with its main theme. Rogers is reevaluating the central topics of his artistic oeuvre at the midpoint of his life, a period in which he observed nature’s beauty in the birth of his second child while relocating his studio and residence.
The artist, in the presence of so many new voices, faces and places, responds boldly. Decisions are made instinctively and reactions come at first blush or burst. Rogers’ work has been described as having a “promiscuity of style” (LA Times) and as having a “penchant for stylistic promiscuity” (New York Times). Here we explore the artist boiling down his approaches. Wild gestural expressionism is now more tightly contained yet still reverberating.