Installation view, Art Toronto 2017
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is pleased to announce Pathos Schmathos, a presentation of paintings by Erik Olson and Edith Beaucage at Art Toronto 2017. Pathos Schmathos features two Canadian artists using figurative painting to elicit existential and escapist feelings that reside with all of us. Pathos is a proposed path to persuasion and can be achieved through a good story, the passionate delivery of alleged story, or through a personal anecdote. A comparison of the portrait techniques adopted by Olson and Beaucage allow us to meditate on the composition of subjectivity and the effect that painting has on perceived reality.
Düsseldorf-based Erik Olson's expressive portraits offer many possibilities all leading back to a central question: how do we define the individual in this present moment? In response, Olson posits a series of questions: "Is it skin color? Gender or sexual orientation? The place a person lives? Can you understand the human psyche through innovations in neuroscience?"
Olson deciphers existential human crises with every painting trick in the book from observation-based representation to eyes floating in monochromes to abstract shapes and tangles of all of the above. Olson generates busts, avatars, death masks, ideas, portraits, projections, and profiles, radiating outward in all directions to compile the very malleability of identity. The work oscillates between portraying the individual through an analytic sensibility and an intuitive approach, beyond knowledge.
Los Angeles-based Edith Beaucage's recent paintings invite us to follow a young swashbuckling couple in a topside adventure. Petula is a sailor who sold all of her belongings and now navigates the big salty. A femme of high spirits, she enjoys great conversations with aged tequila in her sailboat boudoir. She spends most of her time talking with her lover and shipmate, a philosopher from Denmark named Gudbjorn. "Gud" loves cutting wood, making wood ornaments and thinking about how the world's population is exponentially growing. What will happen to the food production in Micronesia, he wonders? Gud takes pictures of Petula day and night. They plumb the depths together. In parallel to Roland Barthes' essay S/Z and his search for openness of interpretation in literature, Beaucage organizes her current body of work, Skipper, to allow for a flexible narrative, creating a series of paintings that straddle representation and abstraction and mixes the "plot" in a non-linear fashion. While initial sketches help to unfold the narrative, the characters and situation determine how the individual environment is depicted in each painting.