M+B is pleased to present Rodeo, its first exhibition of new paintings by Edgar Bryan. The show will be on view at the Almont location, March 5 through April 2, 2022, with an opening reception on Saturday, March 5 from 6 to 8 pm.
Edgar Bryan’s paintings are imbued with moments of vulnerability and a sense of light-hearted honesty. Known for work characterized by a self-effacing sense of humor, Bryan’s process centers on a layered materiality and a well-developed sense of color, moving back and forth between a comical ineptitude and masterful virtuosity. Bryan updates classic forms of still-life and self-portraiture with irreverence and a highly finessed color palette replete with domestic objects and pop-cultural motifs. Often working from the standpoint of the clown or the fool, as in La Commedia dell’Arte’s Pierrot character, Bryan stages scenes that introspectively meditate upon the idea of the failed artist, lending the depths of self-reflection an air of comic relief. Each canvas possesses a theatrical quality – layers of frozen action and interaction absorb one another, condensing into logically self-contained narratives. Bryan’s paintings center process over content: games, thought experiments, and self-imposed assignments create an initial impetus, guiding the ensuing flow of rich colors and characters. These works offer no concrete arguments or overdetermined statements. Rather, each canvas becomes a pretext for introspection, inviting the viewer into a world which at once both familiar and prickly, open-hearted and gently self-deprecating.
In Bryan’s newest series of works, the image of the horse saddle looms large. A William Copley saddle painting provided Bryan with an initial spark of fascination, drawing him toward the following question: what formal role could the saddle occupy in his own painterly universe? Stripping away what did not satisfy his interests – the horse, the stable, etc., Bryan was left with a conundrum – how or on what will the saddle be mounted. The solution he arrived it brings these works into an ambitious contemporary space – nude men take to the ground, propped up on all fours, their faces disappearing off stage. Each body is mounted by a large leather saddle, some ornate, baroquely designed, some Spanish style, some western American, in every case the machismo associated with the cowboy is flipped on its head and recontextualized in a space of soft domesticity. Wide swaths of bright acrylic paint are brought to life through the supplemental addition of deeply dramatic oils, producing drips and collisions that draw the viewer’s eye to the painting’s materiality. These works bathe in a Magritte-like sensibility, uncanny juxtapositions of humor and degradation creating an inviting space for self-reflection. With these saddle works, Bryan suspends common cultural symbols in a state of inverted disbelief, employing strangely humorous renderings as a tool for examining faith and failure in the context of self-realization.
Edgar Bryan (b. 1970, Birmingham, AL) received his BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1998 and his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2001. Recent solo and group exhibitions include Café Opera, Philip Martin Gallery, Los Angeles, Edgar Bryan’s Paranoid Counterpoint Blues, Grifter, New York; Welcome to the Dollhouse, Museum of Contemporary Art Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles; Paradise, Night Gallery, Los Angeles; Takashi Murakami’s Superflat Collection, Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama; the love gang, Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Drunk vs. Stoned 2, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York; The Undiscovered Country, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Hello, My Name Is…, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Snapshot, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, among others. His work can be found in the collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; and Museum der Morderne, Salzburg. Edgar Bryan lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. @edgr_b
Location: M+B, 612 North Almont Drive, Los Angeles, California 90069
Show Title: Edgar Bryan: Rodeo
Exhibition Dates: March 5 – April 2, 2022
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 5, 6 – 8 pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm, and by appointment
Social Media: @mblosangeles @edgr_b