Talking to Brett Amory

Talking about “Dark Light”

NEW YORK, NY (June 1, 2011)Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to announce Dark Light, new works by California-based artist Brett Amory, in what will be his debut solo exhibition in New York.

Dark Light features a new series of oil paintings on panel, expanding upon Amory’s ongoing series of works entitled Waiting, which portray studies of urban life through fragmented cityscapes and anonymous, isolated figures. Amory began the Waiting series in 2001 with paintings depicting commuter subjects seemingly detached from their fellow passengers and surrounding environments, inspired by the introverted culture of public transit and inhabitants of the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco (where the artist lived for thirteen years).

Figures and places in Amory’s work are based on photographs the artist has taken of ordinary city architecture and random people who he sees on a daily basis but never speaks to. He feels especially drawn to individuals who look lost, lonely or awkward—those who don’t appear to fit in socially. Amory’s imagery has evolved over time as the artist has reduced compositional elements of the urban environment with increasingly more negative space, placing a stronger focus on the human subjects—who have shifted from daily travelers in the mundane sense to what has become an implied spiritual passage toward transcendence. In recent works, including those in this exhibition, the negative space has become black rather than white, adding to the emotional impact of the light source as having symbolic significance within the context of the obscured landscape imagery.

As the title suggests, the Waiting series is about how we rarely experience living in the now, always awaiting what will come next or obsessed with what has already transpired. In our age of distraction, being in the present is difficult to achieve outside of meditation practice, it requires heightened cognitive awareness and clear mental space, often prevented by constant internal dialogue, preoccupation with memories of the past and/or concern for the future. Amory’s work attempts to visually represent this concept of disconnection and anticipation, conveying the idea of transient temporality that exists in most moments of our daily lives.


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