American painter Brian Fahlstrom’s pictorial work at the Reflex Gallery in Amsterdam portray illusory landscapes that interchange between two different worlds. There is a master-like quality to his association between abstraction and figuration within these fanciful and colourful surfaces. The paintings at his solo exhibition titled ‘Returning Presence’ cloak the viewer with sensory colour, superb brushwork, and incredible spaces. Fahlstrom’s refreshingly unconventional paintings present the world in all of its magnificence and complexity.
References to the biological world exist in the paintings, but the atmospheres painted are solely conceived by the Fahlstrom, conjectural cosmoses similar to the work Italian artist Giorgio de Chirico. De Chirico decided to fashion phantasmagorias of solitude and barrenness that inconsistently also express a sensation of dominance and independence. Fahlstrom forms his personal remarkable methodology to contemporary painting. Through complicatedly modified colour and magnificent paint handling, conformations are generated being worked out through discernment. Self-expression is essential in his work.
Jesting with time-honoured assemblages of landscape painting, Fahlstrom arranges his paintings in a classical manner. References to the sky, the earth and foothills develop visible to the viewer engraved by spirited brushstrokes of the artist. He slowly forms paintings of supreme passion and wildness. Fresh and unwilted edges, indulgent centers, graceful brushwork, delicate forms, and blooming colours are used to allocate the onlooker’s concentration, never letting it rest, never permitting it to remain in a single spot for too long. Every painting Fahlstrom makes compels an expedition into an enigmatic universe, a space that avoids customary indulgences of how a painting permeates.
In Isolation Attributes, a canvas hangs alone on a wall, an appealingly interesting work, the canvas is marked by a restrained, muffled palette of greens, browns, and blues. Fahlstrom’s brushwork overlaps each dissection, creating an appropriate whole. While the eye wanders, from right to left and left to right, the painting emerges almost as a landscape. This piece seeks out a space for itself, a space in which the grandeur of flourishing is rekindled.
In After Here, the viewer is engaged and transported into a scorching valley which is engulfed by terracotta and a resurrection of reds and pinks. The lush space is concurrently landscape and fire. This painting is noticeable by the ease with which it liberally defines a space concerning the intricacy of presence and the refinement of being. Detained in deferral amid these spaces, Fahlstrom beseeches his viewers to dwell in the rhythmical yet spirited surface.
The paintings on display come close to the figurative, even though this is a mere assumption, perhaps the mind trying to fill in a missing joint or limb. Fahlstrom’s paintings suggest chaos yet are transcendent; propulsion and creation are unlimited characteristics within the work because no compact forms are present. Objects are created that appear to never become fully resolved objects. These surreal landscapes indistinctly merge with representations of human figures. His predisposition for natural colours, flowing strokes and dissolving forms give a ritual of hallucinatory/psychedelic effect that is peculiarly serene. It is uncommon for people to understand that the incapability to completely distinguish is one of the limited gratifications in life.
Perhaps the title of this exhibition Returning Presence is an acknowledgement of something more poignant, an appearance, a disposition from long-ago. Fahlstrom takes on the role of the excavator himself, restoring together the uncovered movements, undertones and fragments left in art of preceding centuries into subliminally compatible paintings. They survive on the same canvas since these backdrops dive back into themselves, like descriptions that do not obligate to a story. These transcendent canvases that express what they are by what they are not.
Note: All images are courtesy of Reflex Amsterdam
Brian Fahlstrom | Returning Presence opened on 13th April 2019 and is on display until 25th May 2019