Alex Gibson: Super Darling: M+B Doheny

M+is pleased to present Super Darlingan exhibition of new works by Alex Gibson. This is the artist's first solo show with the gallery. The exhibition opens at our Doheny space on October 29, 2022 and will run through December 3, 2022 with an opening reception on Saturday, October 29 from 6 to 8 pm. 
Alex Gibson’s heavily layered works combine images sourced from the artist’s personal archive of photographs with forms and motifs found in advertising, films, cartoons, and art history. Mined from these different sources, the dense compositions bring together abstract, figurative, and appropriated elements to create a visual overload. Rejecting the material fetish of painting, Gibson opts instead for dry pastel media, exploring its ability to render painterly effects via smudge, blur, and scrub. To maintain tight control of his palette, Gibson makes his own pastels with pigment and marble dust, which he also uses for the gessoed ground. He takes advantage of the momentum that pastel allows, the directness of the line, and immediacy of rich color applied to the surface.

Gibson’s compositions forgo narrative in favor of floating figures, isolated vignettes, and abstract linework. The works lack a set narrative or explicable allegory – aside from the deceptive clarity of their reference. Gibson populates his works with recurring characters and scenes that evoke a certain dramatic, emotional pitch, with the interlaced subjects and superimposed faces blending in and out of moments on the surface. The duality of referential imagery, without narrative, allows the works to seduce the viewer while simultaneously rejecting them, drawing them in before pushing them back out. 

Clashing elements occur simultaneously throughout Gibson’s work – humor is played against romance, seriousness against folly. He breathes air into the idea of painting as both vulgar and poetic, without placing value judgements. Much as he abuts “good” drawing with “bad” drawing, the dramatic bumps into the melodramatic, the apparently personal or original with the kitschy and the copied. In works such as Undesignation, the composition is pushed to the edge of legibility with layers of accumulated visual information, figures are buried and (re)emerge under markings, patterns and shapes. In exploring the anxiety of image production and the slippage around image ownership, Gibson’s work is dissident in nature– he rejects the trappings of legibility and leverages images in order to appraise them on their own terms, commingling the high and low. 


Alex Gibson (b. 1991, Northampton, MA) received an MFA from Yale School of Art, New Haven in 2019 and a BFA from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York in 2013. Super Darling is the artist's first solo exhibition with M+B. Alex Gibson lives and works in New York.


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