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Dennis Flavin: Figures

May 30, 2014June 29, 2014

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Trident Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of figure paintings and drawings by Dennis Flavin. New and recent works on canvas and paper are displayed with earlier paintings illuminating Flavin’s path from realism to abstraction into the uninhibited and confident expressive style which has earned him notice and acclaim.

After training at Vesper George School of Art and the Gloucester Academy of Fine Art, Flavin painted on Cape Ann for nearly four decades before his first public exhibition in 2012, which resulted in immediate attention from curators: a solo exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum followed in 2013, and subsequently his work has been shown at Trident Gallery.

In Flavin’s best work from the 1980s and 1990s, strong colors and forms, gauzy layers, and nightmarish distortions threaten to subdue realism. Flavin experienced a breakthrough in 2007 when he began to paint “completely from [his] mind, not looking at anything other than [his] canvas.” The freedom was exhilarating, and making art became an increasingly intense experience. In this creative trance, Flavin and his creation mutually transform each other. Neither has independence, and there is no intermediating scene between the artist’s creative engagement with memory, composition, color, and form, and his sensory engagement with the art surface. “When you paint,” says Flavin, “you have to have emotional feeling, you have to take risks, … you can’t hold back.”

The new direction led Flavin at first into purely abstract paintings and then toward figure paintings possessing an exalted energy and expressiveness which his foray into abstraction seems to have uncorked.

The signature of Flavin’s evolving style is a riotous abundance of color, which creates meaning and honors the subject by attesting with nuanced craftsmanship to its inner complexity. Likewise, there is more than sensual richness in Flavin’s thickly layered oil and pastel medium, which corresponds to a history of evolving versions of the figure, layers of experience that have built up a unique personality and work of art.