Shulamit Nazarian is pleased to present Fever Pitch, a series of new paintings by Los Angeles-based Wendell Gladstone. This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery.
Over the past decade, Gladstone has produced figurative paintings that evoke dream-like spaces, free from the logic that typically governs traditional representation. He uses allegory and metaphor to examine a wide swath of cultural references—from art history to contemporary politics and personal experience—and allows his subconscious to guide the narratives.
The new paintings in Fever Pitch continue the artist’s interest in surreal states. Each piece carefully balances figuration and abstraction, as if stuck between reality and a feverish hallucination, so that the scenes feel both familiar and strange. The nonlinear spaces and bright, acidic colors portray ominous environments in which the characters dance, march, sleep, and generally find themselves caught in transitional circumstances.
Throughout, relief-like flat blocks of color give the works dimensionality and form. The contours of one figure provide shape for another, and the background of the paintings offer windows for other subjects to peep through, echoing the viewer’s gaze. The margins are often filled with monochromatic figures that parade along the borders of the canvas, providing sub-plots for the central narrative.
This new series offers a seductive invitation into the agitation and boundless energy of the human psyche. Layered with meanings and slippery conclusions, the unstable moods of Fever Pitch reflect and respond to our unique social and political moment, constantly in flux and permeated by unease.
Wendell Gladstone (b. 1972, Boston, Massachusetts) received his BA from Brown University, an MFA from Claremont Graduate University, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He has exhibited his work in numerous solo exhibitions, including at Kravets/Wehby, New York; Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles; and at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. Gladstone’s work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Hammer Museum, Torrance Art Museum, Las Vegas Art Museum, and the Chelsea Art Museum.