Wraithworld, new paintings by Michael Hafftka
September 8th- September 26th, 2012
Opening Reception Saturday, September 8th, 6- 10pm
Vaudeville Park is pleased to present Wraithworld, a solo exhibition of new paintings by artist, musician, and writer Michael Hafftka. Comprised of ten figurative paintings on stretched and unstretched canvas, all created within the past year, the exhibition draws from the full repertoire of themes and characters that Hafftka developed over three decades.
Hafftka’s paintings are tangible realizations of personal visions, built up from a rich and varied dream world. Working without preliminary sketches or guides, Hafftka’s highly gestural brush strokes form and carve the skin and bones of the people who populate his paintings. The palette tends toward a polarity between inky black and gauzy, bluish white. Harsh veridians, burnt oranges and the occasional crimson punctuate the figures’ emotional state, which ranges from the frequently terrible and perverse to the rare moment of collected repose.
Some paintings depict anonymous, transmogrified hominoids engaging with each other or struggling with internal, spiritual activities, sometimes manifested as shadowy specters. Hafftka’s portraits are also brutally rendered, sublime manifestations of his subject’s animus, with Hafftka himself transforming into the medium, thus becoming the mediator between the sacred and the carnal. Hafftka’s work masterfully references Francis Bacon and Goya, the great painters of myth and allegory, as well as the autobiographic writer Henry Miller and the psychoanalytic writings of Carl Jung. These paintings contain a convincing spiritual realism that counterbalances their slashing Neo-Expressionist execution, and reveal Hafftka’s unflinchingly sincere and steadfastly existential representation of contemporary society in a surprisingly refreshing and humanizing manner.
Michael Hafftka is an artist, musician, and writer living in Red Hook, Brooklyn, and has shown in a diverse range of galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and Europe, including the Walker Art Center, ABC No Rio, and Museum of Modern Art, Antwerp. Hafftka’s work is included in public collections at the Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery, and in numerous private collections.