Marcy Brafman’s Enamel Paintings

While these works relate loosely to graffiti, she puts a personal stamp on the genre by omitting heavy white or black bands around defined brightly colored volumetric forms.

poster for Marcy Brafman

Marcy Brafman "Pearlscent"

at 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel
in the Chelsea 25th area
This event has ended - (2011-05-31 - 2011-06-27)

In Reviews by Mary Hrbacek 2011-06-23 print

Marcy Brafman 'Headache A' (2009) Oil enamel and spray paint on canvas 36 x 54 in.

The diverse subjects in Marcy Brafman’s new enamel paintings seem to whisper and rustle in waves of quietly energetic dialog as they animate each other on the gallery walls. The lost and found lines that define the forms merge and reemerge, creating a fugitive dialectic with the areas that surround them. Brafman’s shapes tease the senses with double meanings and Rorschach images that shift from one form to something entirely other. In one piece, a black dog’s head morphs into a dark African-American face. The delicacy and playfulness these works offer has a bold side. Brafman isn’t shy about using bright contrasting colors, often pure or just barely mixed. Somehow this factor only adds to the fleeting excitement of the casually depicted subjects. While these works relate loosely to graffiti, she puts a personal stamp on the genre by omitting heavy white or black bands around defined brightly colored volumetric forms.

Marcy Brafman 'CLEO' (2010) Oil enamel and spray paint on canvas 36 x 48 in.

Brafman often scrawls indecipherable features that capture the essence of the subject’s personality. The subject is primary; the surrounding space is meant to support its individuality and expression. Much of the appeal in her work lies in the fast execution that captures the essence without much description, in a few strokes. Her shapes are loosely painted in a poetic message redolent of an intimate conversation with a friend in the subway. There is a subtle sensuality hidden in the casual interplay of features, forms and namable hues.

Brafman likes to focus on one image per painting. She isn’t involved with landscape or with typically natural images, but she uses animals or figures, sometimes culled from advertising logos. Her image of the sun has an anthropomorphic twist that bypasses clichés. The works are very much about implication; they never make a direct statement, but make suggestions instead. The artist’s repertoire of subjects ranges from birds, puppies and leopards, to small children, sunbeams, singers, and other seemingly random images. Her vision is sly and sultry, funny, teasing and tantalizing. She grafts cartoon type drawing onto her customized view of graffiti. Brafman’s vision is a Western style of visual haiku, with humor injected. She seriously toys with the perceptions of the viewer, making it a fun and challenging experience to see her art. Her relaxed process appears to be hyper-intuitive and unselfconscious. These are rare qualities in a painter; Brafman has a clear vision of her intentions. She is a painter in the era of digital media, whose rapid process gives rise to enigmatic, sometimes imperceptible images that defy definition but lift the spirits. They resemble action painting with a graffiti twist done in a highly personal style. Brafman, who has worked in the transitory medium of television that is geared to large audiences, prefers the solidity and continuity of making one ideal painting put on one canvas at a time.

Marcy Brafman 'Dark Magenta Blonde' (2011) Oil enamel and spray paint on canvas 36 x48 in.

Brafman’s art, while sunny and fun, has a slightly menacing edge. The character of her forms and the use of black produce this effect. Her fleeting shapes morph and transform so subtly that the viewer must concentrate to make out what is being expressed. She is obsessed by the desire to express perfection in each of her formats, to create images in paint that are both penetrating and lasting.

Mary Hrbacek

Mary Hrbacek. Mary Hrbacek has been writing about art in New York City since the late nineties. She has had more than one hundred reviews published in print in The New York Art World, and has written for NY Arts magazine. Her Commentary spans a broad spectrum of art, from the contemporary cutting-edge to the Old Masters. She has covered exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum, the Whitney and the Museum of Modern Art, as well as the Armory Show, the Affordable Art Fair, and two consecutive Venice Biennials. After a trip in 2002 to China, Hrbacek wrote a special essay report on the cities of Beijing, Chongching and on art in Shanghai. Hrbacek is an artist who maintains a studio in Harlem. Website » See other writings

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