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Figure/Ground exhibition kicks off gallery season at Montserrat College of Art
Installation view.

BEVERLY, MASS.- The Montserrat Gallery presents Figure/Ground, an exhibition of figurative work by eight artists from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. Contemporary figurative painting is more relevant than ever as artists portray people engaged with the salient issues of our time—including race, sexuality, violence, migration, and privacy. What does it mean to be human as our relationship to our bodies, to nature, and to society evolves?

Miguel Aragón, Matt Bollinger, Justin Kim, Susan Lichtman, Kirk Lorenzo, Azita Moradkhani, Simonette Quamina, and Leslie Schomp work in the figurative tradition, exploring the body from a wide range of angles and in an array of mediums—including printmaking, painting, animation, photography, collage, sculpture and drawing. Their work engages with the history of figurative art and also sheds light on both current and timeless notions of humanity.

Miguel Aragón (NY) was born and raised in Ciudad Juárez, México, and his large-scale, hand-drilled portraits of corpses honor individuals who have died as a result of drug-related violence in that border region.

Matt Bollinger’s (NY) hand-drawn stop-motion animation, Mark of the Wolf, tells the story of a son who goes to clean out his father’s lakeside home, and a day of chores evolves into an evening where both good and difficult memories meld with a midnight movie to form a nightmare.

Justin Kim’s (MA) mixed-media paintings of the figure in landscapes explore perception and memory – specifically how the information received through each is fragmented and elusive, yet made whole through our bodies. In this way our experience of the world oscillates between dissolution and synthesis.

Susan Lichtman (MA) paints interiors with figures in them, relying on her home and studio in the woods as muse. Her paintings of figures in domestic spaces use close-value colors and evoke cinematic stories or dreams, conjuring the memory of a time and place rather than depicting an actual scene.

Kirk Lorenzo (NY) is a recent graduate from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University whose photographs question how individuals navigate the familial gaps created by queerness, class, and language and why survival for many is dictated by proximity to whiteness.

Azita Moradkhani’s (MA) drawings and sculptures explore the dichotomies of vulnerability/ violence, public/private, and sexual representation/national identity--dualities that are informed and reinforced by her upbringing in Tehran.

Simonette Quamina (RI) employs a range of printmaking and drawing techniques to create large, monochromatic, collaged works on paper that portray figures in private, ambiguous moments in time.

Leslie Schomp (MA) creates self-portraits out of hair, fabric, and thread. Through soft sculpture and drawing, she uses lines as a map to explore autobiography and to gain insight about the boundaries of her inner and outer worlds and her relationship to Nature.

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September 24, 2017

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