The Scandalized Mask
Peter Linde Busk, Brian Bress, Anthony Lepore & Nick Devereux
24 May – 27 July 2013
Josh Lilley is delighted to announce the opening of The Scandalized Mask, a group exhibition featuring Anthony Lepore, Brian Bress, Nick Devereux and Peter Linde Busk.
The show brings together four artists whose practices, in varying degrees, provide a screen within their works: blocking intention while deferring response in the viewer. Ideas of concealment are explored through masquerades, costumes or veils, in turn expressing feelings of uncertainty and the mystical. The exhibition's title comes from a seminal James Ensor picture, the first of his masked paintings. It references a self-conscious retreat to safety, hinting at notions of creative inferiority or awkwardness within an artist's practice. Through film, photography, drawing, and painting, suggestions of alienation, deformity and anxiety are faced down amid a current of pathos, humour and the surreal — all brought to light by the clear thematic of portraiture that weaves its way through all four artists' work.
Waiting in the lobby of some ghetto/affordable oral surgeon located in a mini-mall in LA, Anthony Lepore became intrigued by the strange intimacy between the healer and the body. His installation for The Scandalized Mask consists of a reconstructed waiting room complete with generic furniture — chairs, a coffee table with appropriate magazines for the sexes, plant, clock, and hand sanitiser. The drug ads for diabetes and cholesterol-lowering concoctions found on the wall are replaced by a series of photographs exploring the body, both human and animal. Taken in chiropractor's offices, zoo operating rooms, and dentistry and nursing school classrooms, these photographs explore the vulnerability of flesh, ideas of surrogacy, and the nonsexual ways we allow ourselves to be entered.
Failure and uncertainty on the part of both viewer and artist is a core element of Brian Bress' work. His sensitively constructed high resolution films — of which there will be two in this exhibition, highlighting absurd yet troubled characters — caught in their own worlds of restricted movement or recreation. The confusion generated from their actions adds to the humour Bress wishes to convey, to the sense of instability and surprise. He then uses composition and framing to control visual information relying on the means and methods of portrait painting, but within the flat field of the video monitor. Fantasy and deformity - imbued at all times with a tender intimacy between subject and viewer, are enhanced by elaborate masking and costume.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Nick Devereuxs work is the number of tyrannical perceptive games to which he subjects the minds of his viewers. They shatter our convictions, especially those that seem the most irrevocable. Is he working from a contemporary or an old fashioned point of view? We get the feeling that we are re-seeing an image again and while we attempt to recognise it, we understand that we are in fact discovering it.... for the very first time. Included in the exhibition will be two medium/large pastel interventions upon digital pigment prints - raising the ongoing question of perception in his work, rather than that of observation.
In his paintings, prints and ceramics, Peter Linde Busk employs a cast of characters to figure states of melancholia, dejection and failure. His celebration of the antagonist is inspired by card design, literature and popular culture, tending towards portrayals of those who sit on high: Kings and knights prevail, their stature betrayed by their audacious attire. Violently patterned, his images draw on the starkly direct marks of Art Brut. Busks drive to fill space to excess means that the figure is often decorated to the point of parody. They are flawed and exposed, saturated and ridden with angst. They appear almost at the moment before their fall. However this also comes across as being affirmative; bearing in mind that these are often self-portraits, perhaps this moment becomes a fable for catastrophes liberating potential.
Anthony Lepore (b. 1977 in Burbank) completed his MFA at Yale University School of Art in 2005.
Brian Bress (b. 1975 in Norfolk, VA) completed his MFA at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006.
Nick Devereuex (b. 1978 in Panama City) lives in Paris and works in Montreuil.
Peter Linde Busk (b. 1973 in Copenhagen, Denmark) completed his MFA at the The Royal Academy of Arts London in 2009.