Marty Schnapf is launching his debut solo show in the UK this month, bringing together a new body of paintings entitled Santa Ana Winds. The title of the series and exhibition refers to a psychogeographical phenomenon distinct to the artist’s home state.
In his 1955 essay, Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, situationist Guy Dubord defined psychogeography as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organised or not, on the emotions and behaviour of individuals”.
On that theme, the Santa Anas are hot dry winds that blow over coastal Southern California and are thought to suffuse the region with a surreal and mystical tension.
Schanpf’s paintings play on this phenomenon and reveal themselves slowly. While distinctly human, the figures in his work lack clear contours and easy classification. They hover in a liminal state between reality and suspension responding contortedly to their shifting environment. Intertwined forms recalibrate before our eyes as expectation slides toward ambiguity and a sensual, interior human experience emerges.
His work often begins in a flurry of gestural abstraction. He then draws directly on the canvas without studies, pictures or models. Unencumbered by any single art historical allegiance, he employs a wide range of rendering techniques. With each step he reacts to the one before. Ghosts of previous forms and figures hover just behind the surface.
Born in 1977 and living in Los Angeles, Schnapf received his BFA from Wittenberg University in 1999 and was heavily influenced by his studies abroad in Cortona, Italy. He has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally.
Marty Schnapf: Santa Ana Winds runs from 18 October until 15 November 2018 at the ALICE BLACK gallery in London. Find out more at aliceblackart.com.