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Wendell Gladstone
Shulamit Nazarian Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
Recommendation by Jody Zellen

Wendell Gladstone, “Locomotive,” 2017, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 66”

Wendell Gladstone's paintings are collectively entitled "Fever Pitch.” These layered quasi-narratives emphasize bright, acidy colors in which male and female figures happily dance and frolic, coming together in inventive ways while simultaneously remaining separate. In each work Gladstone builds up the surface so as to give the paintings depth and texture. In many, there is a frieze of naked figures that populate the negative spaces surrounding the main characters. In "Locomotive" green silhouettes dance along the top of the painting. Below monochromatically rendered heads of a man and woman are about to kiss, their flat bodies intertwined in an impossible embrace. Patterns reminiscent of stained glass surround and cover the forms. Gladstone is enamored with these elements: curved silhouettes in jarring colors form the bodies of the paintings’ central characters; a frieze of smaller figures, flowing hair, high-heeled shoes and abstracted breasts also repeatedly appear. Without doubt Gladstone is a skilled painter and craftsman with an inventive imagination. These are dream-like spaces filled with surreal characters who convey familiar emotions of lust, desire and intimacy in unexpected ways.

Shulamit Nazarian

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