LOS ANGELES—Viewing Room, the first solo show of Los Angeles-based painter Alec Egan opens on March 17 at Anat Ebgi gallery. Featuring a series of new paintings, Egan’s figurative still-lifes swallow the viewer into vivid, kitsch scenes wherein a melancholic nostalgia grows unbridled.
Fragmented and yet fully whole, Egan tackles the psychology of the domestic interior through a maze of lushly wallpapered rooms. Tulips, a window, a rug, a painting-within-the-painting; these are the clues presented in Egan’s blueprint-key, allowing the viewer to map this imaginary home. The indulgent use of oil paint create textures imbued with a cognitive power, the flatness of the patterns complemented by raised brushstrokes seemingly pushing and pulling one’s gaze. Thick impasto accentuate the dapples found in the floorboards or drywall of this home, the overwhelming quality of Egan’s playful patterns bordering on abstraction through Rococo-esque embellishment.
A pair of socks, boots, glasses; these discarded items wait to be used again, frozen against the wild landscape of the wallpaper, or the duvet-cover, a literal flowerbed. A camouflaging ensues – an upholstered chair all but disappears into the adjacent wall. For all the objects, the absence of the figure is palpable, yet each still-life insists on a haunting human presence and the viewer as witness. There is a sense of escapism throughout, books are featured prominently, and the air is rife with the nostalgia of adolescence and Americana. Swatches on swatches, Egan’s canvases produce an infinite number of windows, chambers and corridors, blending the internal with the external, relishing in their own lurid pattern-making and the comfort of déjà vu.
Alec Egan (b. 1984) lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He completed his MFA at Otis College of Art and Design in 2013, and a BFA in creative writing and poetry from Kenyon College. Solo exhibitions include the California Heritage Museum in Santa Monica and an upcoming show at Dubuque Museum of Art in Dubuque, Iowa. His work is in several private and public collections including the Saunders Collection, (Berlin, Germany) and Key Brand Entertainment (London, England).