There Has Always Been Something Exasperating About My Gifts: Work by Yevgeniya Baras and Dana Deguilio with Ian Hokin
Abstract painting has a long history of exploring both the sacred and profane and perhaps the grey area in between. A flagrant gesture can work harmoniously with its peers to create the metaphor of the sublime, or likewise the mythic deed of painting can re-occupy the vulgar materiality of expression. The works of Yevgeniya Baras and Dana Deguilio occupy this realm of duality. Baras revels in the viscous sensuality of her medium, while spinning the yarn of her brushstrokes as a fable passed through the ages. Her paintings reveal an allegorical relationship between the physical and the narrative, as evident in works such as “Chest- Sweater (or Stepping in Shit on Sunday)” and “The Night Porter”. A persistent layering of ooze becomes a rite of ancestry, either personal or historical. Deguilio’s approach leans more towards the pragmatic- as exercises in the canon of slop and vigor. Rather than exhibiting the painting, the floor on which the painting is made becomes as valid an object in “Song”. This demonstrates her urge to “level the theatrical with the procedural”. As a counterpoint to these works, the paintings of Ian Hokin depict feverish visions of vulgarity- a watermelon sniffing coke or a heart taking a shit. Unexpected signifiers find themselves in the most inappropriate situations. Endowing these moments is the flippant urgency of the painter’s hand.