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Darren Waterston
Haines Gallery, San Francisco
Recommendation by Cherie Louise Turner


Darren Waterston, ''Arcadia,'' 2012, oil on wood panel, 60 x 60''.

 

Continuing through May 18, 2013

 

In an exhibition of new work, New York–based artist Darren Waterston presents a varied but cohesive show that is wide-reaching in its references, both to the art world and beyond. The show is comprised of twenty-one black gouache on white paper paintings, eight larger paintings, and a collection, encased in a horizontal glass display case, of preparatory sketches and reference materials. 

 

The glue that binds here is the exploration of fantastic, somewhat post-apocalyptic scenarios. The gouaches focus on fauna, the black paint solidly blocking out references to animal shapes pieced together in imaginative ways, sometimes to the point of total abstraction. These morphed creatures call to mind the work of Josh Keyes and also Hieronymus Bosch. But here, Waterston has pared down his visions from stark detail to a dark shadow, leaving much to the imagination. 

 

The larger eight paintings, done in rusty, muted colors, feature distant, hazy landscapes; there are no signs of life. The steep mountains depicted in several and the thin washes of color immediately recall traditional Chinese landscapes. Waterston’s find handling of paint provides depth and subtlety that emerges slowly; the works evolve as you sit with them. In all, the exhibition is an intriguing and beautifully executed exploration of worlds imagined, centered on man’s fascination with the durability of nature and recognition that it will ultimately always be beyond our control. 


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