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Review: “A Thin Line” – Aaron Nagel @ Shooting Gallery

One June 11th, The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco opened the latest solo show, “The Thin Line”, from Oakland based painter Aaron Nagel. This is the second solo exhibition the artist has had at the gallery, the first being “Marks” (reviewed) that took place March 2010. Since that time he has had a few paintings in group shows, but aside from the few that took place in the Bay Area I rarely got to see any new work in person.

I was very excited to see this new show, but didn’t make it to the gallery until this past weekend, which doesn’t bother me since I can take some good photos and new video. I really like the idea of taking videos of these shows from here on out, and have gotten a good response from fans across the globe that can’t see the works in person. While I try to do the best I can with the videos, getting in close and trying to capture all the detail I can, there is no replacement for seeing these works in person. Especially when you see how exquisite Aaron’s brushwork is. It really is hard to believe that he is self-taught, and is a testament to hard work and achieving your goals no matter what. Click the read more link for the rest of the review and a video.

The gallery walls were painted the mid-gray tone they have been in the past, and it really helps to pop these paintings out. The first thing you notice is the 5 oval paintings on the left side of the room. Each one exactly the same size and the letters across the top spelled “SIREN”. I like how Aaron has created these thin-lined borders in many of the paintings. It really adds a nice touch to each of the works, and as Paul Chatems work does, the machine precision line-work always impresses me. Only one painting, “Powder” in the back of the gallery had the text based backgrounds seen in earlier works. I thought it was a good idea to not only have a variety in sizes, but a variety in the way the paintings were presented. A few with white backgrounds, which allowed the black hands to take center stage, loose black and umber backgrounds, and the black background seen in “Shrapnel”.

I’m not sure if I spent this much time looking at brushwork in his previous show, but I was mesmerized with the way the paint was applied in these works. Even with the white backgrounds, the brush marks and the way they crisscrossed and caught the light was one of the details that reminded you why it’s so special to see these works up close. I stated this in my last review of his “Marks” show and echo it again, his paintings seen from a distance have this amazing photo quality to them. Then when you get close the brush-marks and highlights applied loosely reveal themselves. I was happy to see some drippy, splattery marks on a few of the paintings as well. This gives the indication that some future works might even get a little looser in some of areas. One things for sure, Aaron never disappoints when it comes to releasing new paintings. Each show keeps getting better than the last and as you walk out the door the first thing in your mind is, I can’t wait to see the next show.

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  • Reply
    Jun 21, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    thank you for sharing. LOVE his work! I have not seen them in person yet. The video plus the way you describe the strokes and the way it catches the light makes me feel as if I was there. thank you for that.

    great job Aaron!

  • Reply
    Jun 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    […] posted a review of ‘a Thin Line’ here along with a fantastic video walk-thru of the entire show (below). thank […]

  • Reply
    Jun 22, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I really love the simple oval portraits.

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