Magic Beans Gallery, Berlin
Gina Malek’s works are records of memories sought after. With her paintings, Malek creates portraits and scenes that are intimate while mostly avoiding direct figuration, preferring instead to outline its absence. Outlines of the human form are visible through a multitude of mark-making languages. She collects the marks by interacting with images in printmaking, drawing, and writing as well as video and audio recordings. In the studio, Malek attempts to extend encounters with her subjects - to chase down a moment, freeze it, and then set it on repeat. Using color and gesture, the artist underlines significant moments and then folds them back into the painting. At the same time as they suggest certain actions that are physical, the works also reflect the ways in which bodies are tangled in social and psychological spaces. Malek is interested in how people are represented, most notably women, the elderly, and those along the margins of society. The works converge upon ideas of identity and the impermanence of memory. The aim, in the end, is to smoke out remembered sensations through the act of painting.
Malek lives and works in the Bronx. She graduated with an MFA from Columbia University in 2015, and has exhibited in Chicago, New York, Thessaloniki and Berlin.
A particular tension is characteristic of Andrius Zakarauskas' work: although his painting is representational and figurative, what exactly is being portrayed is not concrete or clearly defined. The moderately marked figures in Zakarauskas ́ paintings seem ephemeral. People become shadows fluttering in space or blend with them, turning into dark smudges on the Earth ́s surface. The intensity of reality and illusion is fuelled further by motives of painting within a painting. The artist often portrays himself in a studio or a gallery, standing in front of his painted canvas. He is the author and the audience at the same time.
Andrius Zakarauskas aims to provoke the spectator by making them question his artworks: if the motives were animate or inanimate in nature, if the works themselves are motives, or whether it ́s both. Blurring the line between reality and fiction is a central theme of Zakarauskas ́ paintings. The colours chose by the artist, as well as his painting style determines the vagueness of images and ideas. His dimmed monochrome palette is filled with nuanced matte grey and blue-grey tones, deep dark shades of black and brown. This gamut is brightened by little glowing accents of white, pink, teal, blue or light brown. The artist aims for an eloquent contrast between deep dimension, achieved by glazing, and flat figures and objects, painted in expressive broad strokes. Another significant means of expression in Zakarauskas ́ paintings is fragmented motives such as interior “framing”, zooming in on and enlarging the chosen details. Some fragments are enhanced cinematographically, other are almost fused with the surroundings by using particular painting tools.
Zakarauskas erases the line between himself and the painting. He portrays a state of confusion and uncertainty, when there is no point of reference, because a more specific direction is not crystal clear yet. However, this emptiness filled with melancholy and anxiety is pulsating with life and magic of painting. Zakarauskas lives and works in Vilnius. He has exhibited in Germany, China, Lithuania, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary and many other countries.
Seungmo Park, a mid-career Korean artist, hand-crafts and cuts elaborate layers of wire mesh to create hyperreal scenes through a mirage of visual perception. This particular body of work is called “Maya” and alludes to its Sanskrit meaning “Illusion”. This implies that “in truth, there is nothing” or just an illusion. In this body of work, the artist painstakingly recreates photographs into holographic wire sculptures with ethereal results. His aim is to construct scenes that transcend existence. The artist enacts a way of seeing beyond what is real and visible.
Each piece is several inches thick and each plane that forms the final image is spaced a few finger widths apart, giving the portraits a depth and dimensionality that is difficult to convey in a photograph. In real life, they have an overwhelming presence and are hauntingly evocative - as if caught in between reality and a parallel universe. The dynamics in perception reflects the artist ́s conviction that there is no essence to be captured. Other works, such as “Ego” and “Heo”, show life size human figures and music instruments. Their skin is made out of thin aluminium wire, creating a pattern of waving, parallel lines that reflect the light, again alluding to the emptiness underneath the surface of ego.
Park lives and works in New York City. He has a BFA in Sculpture from the Dong-A University in Busan. He has exhibited in many countries, in galleries and institutions. His works are part of important collections such as Ali Koç Collection and Polimeks.