Interior Dialogue

Karen Heagle, Lonnie Holley, Sarah Kurz, Matvey Levenstein

January 31 – February 23, 2014

Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present Interior Dialogue, a four person exhibition of painting and sculpture by Karen Heagle, Lonnie Holley, Sarah Kurz and Matvey Levenstein.  The exhibition will open on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 and continue until February 23, 2014.  A public reception will be held Wednesday, January 29th, 2014.

Interior Dialogue opens the conversation between four artists whose works address the world immediately surrounding us, and take inspiration from the inside out.  The tradition of depicting an inside space is one that has allowed us access to details of everyday life- Pietro Longhi’s scenes of Venetian pastimes and games; Van Gogh’s study of his bedroom; Matisse’s The Red Studio; Vermeer’s intricate scenes of Dutch life all portray a world away from the world. 

In Karen Heagle’s lush paintings the balance of time and space is uncomfortably tense.  We are not sure exactly where we are- signs point to a country estate, with both recently killed and taxidermied animals present and a considered opulence.  There is a sense of timelessness, that we could be in a world of one hundred years ago, but modernity looms large in a lava lamp.  In Heagle’s work we are constantly off-balance, unsure of our perspective both literally and figuratively.  The world of her interiors is not a welcoming one, but it is compelling none the less.

Lonnie Holley’s extraordinary sculptures take objects and turn them upside down.  His simple wooden chair, fitted with a golden frame and a rough cross, seems to balance on the edge of simplicity. In The Guts Are Gone, a salvaged piano is kept open by an electric guitar, while angel wings protrude at an angle.  The piano, once a magnificent display and instrument, takes on another life- an afterlife that asks us to examine it once more.

In the intimate paintings of Sarah Kurz we are allowed a closer look at the inner world of figures.  A woman’s repose radiates a warm sensuality and candidness, while the formality of a leather chair and vase of flowers speaks of a place where the facade is all important.  Kurz’s paintings have a sultry glow that radiates off the canvas- we are mesmerized by her painting of a fire with the same force that compels us to the real thing.  Kurz does not attempt to distance us from her subjects, instead she opens to door to let us get nearer.

Matvey Levenstein’s depictions of Church interiors are at once grandly romantic and familiar. The opulence and light of the splendid space is balanced by the absence of people, though indications and traces of them linger in each.  There is a guarded aspect to Levenstein’s scenes- in his Woman in Interior the woman is wary and her pose nervous.  The paintings have a journalistic lens; while Levenstein is a keen observer, he is not necessarily a participant.

The discourse that occurs within the walls of Interior Dialogue allows us an entry into the private worlds created by each artist, drawing inspiration from everyday life and surroundings.  Unlike a grand landscape, which transports us with an expansive view of the world, the works drawing on interior spaces open the conversation to the places man has built, both in the physical and spiritual realms. 

Interior Dialogue Insights Magazine February 13, 2014