Keira Kotler and Bryan McFarlane Press Release

Keira Kotler: Luminous
Bryan McFarlane: Stories in the Clouds
April 2 – 25 at Gallery NAGA

Gallery NAGA will welcome spring with color, when, from April 2 through April 25, two prominent artists show their work.

Keira Kotler: Luminous and Bryan McFarlane: Stories in the Clouds are on exhibition from April 2 through 25. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Thursday, April 2 from 6 to 8 pm.

Keira Kotler   Luminous

Keira Kotler is an abstract painter who uses layers of toned urethane to create jewel-like works. Working on clear acrylic surfaces that lie flat, Kotler applies the urethane and then manipulates its movement on the surface. Each layer of toned medium has a relationship to the previous layer; what results is a multi-layered painting having a depth of feeling and a density of color.

In the back office, Kotler’s photographs will be exhibited. While Kotler’s paintings offer depth and subtle color relationships, the abstract photographs are more direct and mimic the cross-section of her paintings.

In her artist statement for this exhibition, Kotler writes:

I am interested in visual and sensory perception and the possibilities that occur when one attends to the present moment. Using luminosity and the resonance of color, I create reductive paintings and photoworks that engage the viewer through subtle value shifts, chromatic complexity, and compositional movement.

While I work in a range of media, the common thread connecting them is light. Combining translucent materials, layering techniques, and color theory, I create reductive fields that amplify form, light, and geometry; spaces in which it is possible to see and penetrate. The results are experiential surfaces that shift with changing perspectives, lighting conditions, and architectural elements.

The work stems from a long-standing interest in the phenomena of light and color, as approached through Buddhist philosophy and meditation. Color has the power to evoke internal sensations through perception, vibration, and cultural associations. Quieting the mind encourages these experiences to come forth. Much like standing before a vast ocean or flowing river, where water offers a sense of perspective, expansiveness and serenity; so too these paintings serve as a space for reflection. They do not assert a point of view; rather they invite viewers to explore their own internal, perceptive experience.

Keira Kotler grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts and graduated from Columbia before moving west at the end of the 1990s and settling in the Bay Area. Her paintings and photographs have been shown widely in California, Santa Fe and New York.

Bryan McFarlane   Stories in the Clouds

Jamaican-born Bryan McFarlane’s career, although based in Boston, continues to expand internationally. In 2008 solo shows of his paintings were mounted in Berlin and in Beijing, and he was among artists representing twenty-five countries in Beijing’s 2008 Olympics exhibition.   In 2012, McFarlane was awarded the Musgrave Medal by the Institute of Jamaica in recognition of his achievement in art.

Bryan McFarlane’s past work depicted abstract shapes in whirling spaces. The newest paintings suspend forms and free-floating images in grounded space that is more suggestive of a landscape. McFarlane commented, “Space is an endless phenomenon laid bare to be studied for an artist or scientist or even the psychologist or psychoanalyst.  Still, Space is a big mystery to me. When one takes a rectangular picture plain to compose or ‘create space,’ it must encompass the universe, however minute. Landscape does that for me right now as space above and below us is endless, governed largely by ocean, land and sky. All my depicted pictorial elements are meant to float in the paintings I am trying to create.”

McFarlane’s paintings are vibrantly colored as in Black Moon where a hot orange sphere sits atop alternating horizontal bands of purples, greens, and grays. He applies the paint so thickly that in some cases it feels as if the paint might slide right off the canvas. The surfaces are sometimes scratched, sometimes reworked, and in general, intensely luscious.   McFarlane says,

“Working in Beijing, looking at the nature of the society, looking at human values and materialism, with so much stuff and so many people. I’m working from more of an emotional and intuitive source rooted in real experience of places I’ve been – Beijing, Africa, the Caribbean, the United States. I’m working with all of those contradictory situations that are simultaneously taking place, trying to distill them into some sort of emotion.”