In Tunnel Vision, Los Angeles-based artist Christian Vincent's second show at Mike Weiss Gallery, viewers are confronted by eight large-scale oil paintings showing groups of young men seemingly up to no good. While the works "deconstruct notions of the collective" (from the press release), they also leave a lingering feeling of unease and tension. The uncomfortable element emanating from Vincent's ghostly, hazy subjects is intentional as the artist "is not concerned with mastering anatomical expertise but rather with conveying a polemical undertone, and intentionally leaves the works in contentious balance, overlapping political propaganda and Pop culture."
The mass of boys in Waterfall, dressed uniformly in white shirts and blue shorts, appear to be tumbling down from the sky, charging ahead toward an unseen destination off the canvas. Their vague facial expressions make it difficult to determine whether they are running away from something or if they are part of a riot. In Boys with Bats five teenaged boys armed with baseball bats huddle in a circle. Their menacing posture makes one presume they are strategizing an attack. Out of Touch shows a limp body gliding atop a sea of hands. Is he some dude body-surfing at a concert or some sort of Messiah figure being zealously revered by adoring fans? Alternately, he could be a hapless victim about to be torn to shreds by an angry mob. Tunnel Vision shows a row of five young faces wrapped in dark hoods looking like specters or maybe cult members while Look Out shows young boys dressed only in white shorts assembled in a line with the foremost boy extending his left arm in what could be mistaken for a fascist salute.
While exploring "unity, solidarity and conformity," Vincent's compelling paintings exude an uncertainty and creepiness which seem to encourage and demand individuality and independence. Learn more at Mikeweissgallery.com. Through February 12th.