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  • Writer's pictureDavid Gibson

Facing the Future

Gibson Contemporary is proud to present “Gregory Malphurs: Facing The Future” (on view thru October 31, 2022) which presents this Los Angeles based painter and collagist’s contemplative exploration of new ways to perceive the subject of the human face, a traditional model for esthetic inspiration that needed to be altered in order to reflect a hybrid version of the world in which we live, which never actually conforms to the ideas that ideal creative models present.

collage, woman's face
BURNING IN WATER (2022), Oil and graphite on Arches oil paper 22 x 30 inches, unframed

Malphurs rejects the notion that an artist must reflect everyday reality. He uses the human presence, ecstatically and complexly perceived, to reflect the condition of humanity in a contemporary state. Malphurs wants to share with the viewer an experience of escapism into the rabbit hole of an inspired—and transformed—reality in which mirrors of complexity feel oddly familiar. Malphurs invites the viewer’s ambivalence. He believes that good art work should challenge us to embrace our insecurities rather than holding a torch up to illuminate ideal forms.

Malphurs’ evolution as an artist has been aided by contact with members of his artistic community working in diverse mediums. A couple of these individuals have shared a selection of procedural castoffs and mistakes that might serve as inspiration. Malphurs took the material variety of this gift a bit farther; physically sampling and intermingling these images they became a village of faces in hybridized form that he could then translate directly into painterly expression. Not having observed the forms in nature, and having taken advantage of the random interaction of both arranged combinations with fragments adhering one to another in unknown interior of the box, Malphurs found a wealth of affinity which has continued to bear creative fruit for two years.

man with big hair smiling
HOMER (2021) Oil and graphite on Arches oil paper 12 x 16 inches, framed

It’s in the nature of the creative process that a certain source can generate many alternatives. The creative brain is like any field, it can at times require a period of needing to be fallow, and to plant new seeds in other areas. The found materials and their combinations seeded Malphurs’ mind and allowed him to consider creative options beyond the pictures themselves. He began to vibe off their energy they gave him, and to generate new original forms. In some cases he would paint a figure and place a collage fragment right smack in the middle to reinterpret a section of the character’s appearance. Malphurs habitually seeks the new. A process of intimate interaction with materials, and a desire to create within certain limits despite a hunger to cross boundaries simultaneously, has resulted in exciting new pathways toward an oeuvre representative of evolved consciousness. Eventually fully collaged works also took shape as part of the evolution of a vernacular. As he played around with certain formal ideas, and experiments, landing in each case on a similar or different set of expressive particulars, what started as something brazenly new became transformed into something categorically established. It ceased to merely exist, and began to grow. This happens especially when a set of created works emphasize the limits of that initial state of newness. His next logical step, which by this time had almost become an instinct, was to jump forward into something radically new—something that can both speak backward to the first work, as well as forward into work not yet made; and likewise, to new eyes. We invite you to linger over the fantastically idiosyncratic visions of Gregory Malphurs. May they give you new eyes as well.

moody bare-chested man
SHADOW SUPERHERO (2022) Oil and graphite on canvas 48 x 72 inches

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