Jake Manning | Guests of Space
April 26, 2018, through May 29, 2018
Artist reception: Sunday, April 29, 2018, from 3—5 PM
NATIONALE hours: Thursday—Tuesday from 12—6 PM, closed Wednesdays
Thick on the Ground opens at Nationale with bold, new works by Christian Rogers and Kyle Vu-Dunn. Themes of resilience, otherness, and memoir resonate strongly with both artists. Their paintings manipulate traditional figuration in celebration of the intimacies of queer relationships. The addition of three-dimensional elements, such as Rogers’s use of paper pulp and Vu-Dunn’s sculptural panels, focus one’s attention on the frame and everything it encapsulates. Visually enticing combinations of subject matter, color schemes, and shifted perspectives make these pieces loud and proud. The cheeky wink that accompanies their seductive, artistic dance is implied within each painting.
Something akin to boudoir scenes, the works of Kyle Vu-Dunn accentuate the domestic space and put into question themes of gender conformity. Here, Vu-Dunn substitutes the traditional female subject for that of a male, depicting these men nude in moments of relaxation, reflection, and coy desirability. Save for his tampering with visual perspective, the allure of his paintings is palpable in their blunt simplicity. His use of a muted pastel palette adds an essential sensory factor—viewers can imagine touching the silkiness of the sheets or the cold wood of the table beneath these exposed figures.
Retaining a similar sensual narrative, Rogers’s works aren’t for lack of bright, attention-grabbing color. Varying shades of pink and white are the only hues used, with heightened decorative backgrounds that complete the scenes. Meshing nondescript elements with easily recognizable motifs such as the butterfly and the flower, his pieces are jarring and burst with energy. Reminiscent of pink bubblegum, they are hot, soft and desirable. And just like blowing a bubble, they stretch and pull the limits to depict queer spaces defined by temptation and intimacy.
Christian Rogers received his BFA from Western Oregon University and his MFA from Hunter College. He currently lives and works out of Los Angeles. Rogers has shown in New York at Disturb The Neighbors and Galerie Protégé; in Portland at Nationale, Stumptown, and the Portland Art Museum’s Miller Gallery; and at the University of North Dakota. Rogers’ work can be found in the permanent collections of the Western Oregon University Student Union and the Denver Art Museum. He is a 2016 Kossak Travel Grant recipient at Hunter College.
Kyle Vu-Dunn holds a BFA from MICA, Baltimore, in Interdisciplinary Sculpture. He is a grant recipient of NYFA and The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation. Solo exhibitions of his work include Night In at Julius Caesar, Chicago, Leaves Don’t Thank the Sun at Sardine, and A Nail in a Cherry Pit at The Java Project, Brooklyn; as well as group shows in NYC, Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, Dallas, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. He has been an artist in residence at The Woodstock Byrdecliffe Guild hosted by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, and the Scholastic Atelier-Artist-In-Residence Program, NYC.