Neo Rauch’s work is at once familiar and slightly off, though slightly off shouldn’t be confused with off-putting; His paintings are huge and bright and difficult to tear your eyes away from. Calling his compositions surreal only barely describes them, and besides, Rauch isn’t too fond of the word. The colors he uses and the imagery are reminiscent of old storybooks. People are dressed in all manner of clothing, from Paul Bunyan to the Revolutionary War-era, think lots of men in waistcoats and britches. His landscapes owe a lot to Dali’s desolate, almost post-apocalyptic fantasy worlds, and his proportions are all over the place. Men and women of various sizes operate together on the same plane without clear distinction as to fore or background.
Gabriela Trueba is what you would call an unknown. In fact, the native Ecuadorian is still an undergrad at NYU’s Steinhardt School. However, and I’m going to risk sentimentality here, the young artist’s work is mature beyond her years. Trueba’s is a new brand of portraiture. The figures she paints are mysterious, dark and haunting. They seem to appear right out of the surface of the canvas itself, a result of what looks like a long process of addition and subtraction reminiscent of Giacometti’s drawings. They evoke an immediate, visceral reaction that will, no doubt, only grow stronger with time.
She’s having what I believe is her very first show at Mosquito Hawk Gallery on Shelter Island until December 30th.