Sophia Ainslie and Bryan McFarlane Press Release

Sophia Ainslie: Last Touch
Bryan McFarlane: Like the Weather
May 31 – July 13 at Gallery NAGA

Gallery NAGA will welcome summer with a splash of color.

Sophia Ainslie: Last Touch and Bryan McFarlane: Like the Weather are on exhibition from May 31 through July 13. A reception for the artists and the public will be held at the gallery on Thursday, May 31 from 5 to 7 pm.

Sophia Ainslie began using a single X-ray of her mother’s abdomen as source material for her paintings—both as a way to hold onto the memory of her mother and to absorb the meaning of her passing from cancer. Ainslie’s visual language, derived from “collaging” carefully selected shapes found within this x-ray as well as marks and lines found in nature, creates her compositions.

Ainslie uses the computer as a cutting tool to dissect, edit and collage fragments that are reconstituted and mapped through light projection. Brushed, free-flowing India ink marks are juxtaposed with white space and flat, bright, painted color to create paintings in which each element learns to coexist while maintaining its own identity. Her intent is to create ambiguity as to whether the work is hand-made or printed and to prove that things are not always quite what they seem.

In her latest work, Ainslie is layering and abutting shapes, more fragmented and less tightly bound by black lines, that are free to float in white space. As years have passed these works bear more of a connection to the landscape than ever before. Perhaps it’s a sign of healing? Maybe the memory of her mother has been released into her surroundings? The title of the exhibition, Last Touch, would suggest just that.

Jamaican-born Bryan McFarlane’s career, although based in Boston, continues to expand internationally. In 2016 McFarlane was part of an exhibition, Latin America and Caribbean Visual Art Exhibition, at the Beijing World Art Museum, and in 2017 he was included in the Jamaica Biennial at the National Gallery of Jamaica.

In 2013, McFarlane joined a team from MIT and the Schmidt Ocean Institute in exploring the depths of the ocean floor and, using the data that they collected, to project how the changes might affect climate change. Spending so much time looking and thinking about the ocean and atmosphere resulted in a large body of paintings, part of which will be on exhibition this month at NAGA.

McFarlane writes about this group of paintings,

I have sought to create a series of large paintings: images which characterize the subtle and yet overwhelming changes that we experience through weather patterns, sonar sensations, as well as the dramatic change that we internalize and which now occurs often in our weather systems. These patterns or behavior in nature are directly attributed to climate change, caught almost as ‘film stills’ with geometric or horizontal contours when broken down to the viscosity of brushstrokes, paint gestures and the magic of color synchronizations, synonymous with sound. Hence, waves of color are expressed in my paintings to move us horizontally or vertically, harmonizing our deepest emotions, embraced with sounds, crying out from the sea, while we bask in inescapable rapture, experienced through the dark and light–delivered by ‘the weather’.

McFarlane’s compositions are made up of stripes or bands of color, occasionally interrupted with a reference to landscape or architecture. The strokes of paint, masterfully mixed and lusciously applied, are colored stripes that connect to one another. Sometimes the stripes are so close in tone that they become indiscernible from each other. Sections of the paint drip and wiggle and the overall composition resembles ocean waves rolling in or rain pounding down. They are monotonous yet soothing and elemental all at the same time.

In the back room, McFarlane will exhibit a video filled with the sights and sounds of the ocean off the coast of Jamaica. Wild scenes of waves crashing against the sand are interrupted by snapshots of burial grounds. Changes in the weather and life are depicted to express McFarlane’s inner consciousness during his studio practice.