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Paintings for the Future
September 9–October 29, 2015

Jessica Silverman Gallery is pleased to present “Paintings for the Future,” a solo exhibition of new work by Shannon Finley.

Finley creates geometric abstractions that belong to the world of science fiction. They pursue ambitious and adventurous formal logics whilst drawing on the art historical trajectories of Op Art, Futurism and Cubism. The paintings’ aesthetic intelligence engages the eye and the mind; their distinct atmospheres and sensual surfaces speak to our emotional and physical selves.

Since 2002, Finley has been planning his work on computer, creating meticulous, multifaceted compositions in Adobe Illustrator. As soon as the artist’s attention shifts to executing the work, however, his methods are entirely analogue. Critical of the static surfaces produced by even the most sophisticated printing processes, Finley builds up as many as forty layers of paint using a mixture of acrylics and clear gels. Instead of using a paintbrush, the artist pulls paint across the canvas with razor- sharp, custom- made, stainless steel palette knives. The result is a surface that seems to radiate light. It bears no trace of the artist’s hand, but is nevertheless irreducible and unique. Finley’s time-consuming process is not flaunted, but revealed obliquely in the works’ pensive moods and gooey, painterly edges.

Finley tends to obsess over particular compositions and, in this exhibition, we see four of his fixations: diamond-like patterns (that he calls “Rhombuses”), spherical configurations (“Orbs”), planetary spaces (“Galaxies”) and curvaceous linear forms (“Waves”). The different compositions create varied visual playgrounds as well as templates for the exploration of relational color and trompe l’oeil space.
These “Paintings for the Future” have myriad associations including mathematical models, psychedelia, 3D virtual worlds, mineral crystals, and stained glass windows. The artist attributes the energy and dynamism of his work to the influence of the electronic music he plays and listens to in the studio. As he puts it, “I try to make paintings that overwhelm you visually like a room full of loud music, but then give way to a kind of meditative silence.”

Shannon Finley (b. 1974) received his BFA from Cooper Union in New York and subsequently studied at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, Canada. Finley’s work was included in “Painting Forever!” at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. It has been exhibited at the Museum für Konkrete Kunst (Germany), Neuer Aachener Kunstverein (Germany), Kunsthalle Athena (Greece) and the Prague Biennale (Czech Republic). Finley lives and works in Berlin. He has been represented by Jessica Silverman Gallery since 2010.

Listen to Shannon Finely’s studio playlist below: