Zefrey Throwell "Panic in the Chalk Cave"

Tanja Grunert Gallery

poster for Zefrey Throwell "Panic in the Chalk Cave"

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Panic in the Chalk Cave, Zefrey Throwell’s second exhibition at Gasser & Grunert following Ocularpation, 2012, was inspired by the devastating experience of the artist losing his father to meth addiction. The title, Panic in the Chalk Cave, slang for losing oneself to meth, features three new series of works. At last…rest are eight large-scale portraits, memorials to Throwell’s father, painted using his cremated ashes that contain traces of the methamphetamine that ended his life; Time Stau is a gritty, hyper-real movie co-directed with artist Dirk Skreber detailing a young couple falling in love, experiencing the exciting beginnings of addiction, and seeking simultaneous time travel; and stills from the film form the basis for the densely layered paintings Panic in the Chalk Cave.

The technique of painting moments of his father’s life with his ashes in At last…rest, utilizes its own material qualities, capturing the soft focus of memory, locked in expectation and sublime contemplation. They span his father’s life: his rough upbringing and running away from home at age 15, life as a hippy in Haight-Ashbury in the 60’s, smuggling drugs as a biker in the 80’s, and finally his death of a meth overdose at age 59. Throwell’s paintings lovingly embrace and reflect on the inevitable catastrophe.

Time Stau, expands the story from the personal to the global by portraying the fast spreading epidemic of meth destroying lives throughout the world. Dirk Skreber’s and Zefrey Throwell’s first short film collaboration, takes us along for the ride, through a sumptuous tableaux of narratives of a young couple. Their lives deteriorate before our eyes, suspended in their own time flip, as they lose all sense of self, friends and family, surrendering to the irresistible lure of the drug and the incomprehensible mystery of the power of addiction.

Throwell’s Panic in the Chalk Cave paintings begin with film stills from Time Stau. The eight richly constructed works combine photographic images, silkscreen, and layers of oil paint. The brusque strokes convey a sense of urgency, the impasto of titanium white slashing across the canvas. The process both reveals and obscures, reflecting the exhilarating highs and crushing lows of the secretive lives hidden from the prying eyes of parents, friends, and the public. Throwell’s painting process is as much reduction as addition – as John Cage said: “Every something is an echo of nothing”.

[Image: Zefrey Throwell "Douglas Throwell" (2013) human ash and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 x 1 7/8 in.]



from February 28, 2013 to March 23, 2013

Opening Reception on 2013-02-28 from 18:00 to 20:00

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