Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Taking Chances

'Crush'  Rebecca Leveille  at Site:Brooklyn    photo by Gabriel Cosma
by Donato

This past week saw the opening of a daring new show by a talented painter, and friend, Rebecca Leveille Guay.  I've known Rebecca for over fifteen years now, from sharing space and leg wrestling stories at the San Diego Comic-Con,  to teaching motivated artists and students at the IMC, to swapping advice, critics, and experimental work through our close online collective of professional artists.

This latest body of work from Rebecca is a bold and daring statement, embracing core values of morality and aesthetics she has always believed in, but never forcefully championed in a public way.  Well the gloves are off, and her new show 'Crush'  at the gallery Site:Brooklyn in New York City does not pull any punches.

Bold political commentary rides hand in hand with broad, linear movements of gesture, color filled strokes of pigment that figures wear like war paint, and a deft grace of dynamic composition that never leaves you questioning her intent nor ability to fluidly execute the visions she so passionately embraces.

For those of you who know Rebecca's past as an illustrator, the paintings of 'Crush' force you to take a large cognitive and aesthetic leap into new vocabulary.  Gone are diminutive works illustrating commercial commissions, replaced now with bold, massive projections of larger than life figures, confrontational and engaging.

At first glance the colorful application of patterns and design within the work seem to suggest superficial beauty and decoration.  But this grace is a thin veneer, beneath this surface one discovers the work has a deep intellectual bite,  disrupting our assumptions and forcing deeper reflection.  'Crush' is a welcome change from the desaturated, and moody works so pervasive of contemporary artistic commentary and a calling out that art and be visually scintillating, bold, colorful, beautiful, and emotionally complex, twisted, and confounding at the same time.

'Crush'  Rebecca Leveille  at Site:Brooklyn    photo by Gabriel Cosma

Rebecca has undertaken great artistic risk, detaching herself from the expected pathways her previous work implied and daring to wear emotion, skillful execution, and morality as her new colors.  It was with great pleasure I viewed this body of work and eagerly await what the next tide brings us in her pursuits of artistic expression.

The show Crush hangs until April 24, 2017
165 7th St
Brooklyn, NY 11215

Rebecca Leveille

From left (partial) Jenna Kass, Julia Griffin, Greg Ruth, Lauren Panepinto, and Marc Scheff at the opening of Crush.   photo by Gabriel Cosma

'Crush'  Rebecca Leveille  at Site:Brooklyn    photo by Gabriel Cosma

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