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Natalja Kent in Kunsthalle · Nick McPhail in Foyer

a two person solo presentation

on view through January 14, 2024

gallery hours Wed - Sun 11 - 5 pm

by appt: [email protected]

Light Waves is an exhibition of chromograms and sculptures that continue Natalja Kent’s material exploration of process, color, embodiment and the ocean.

Each piece in this series is an artifact of a physical experience had by the artist in the solitude
of a pitch-black, dark, room – influenced by her time in the ocean. These experiences of expanded presence and consciousness, rooted in body scan meditation, cultivated by the artist over years of rigorous and diverse somatic study, bring Kent
into deep collaboration with the ocean and light sensitive chromogenic paper. Light Waves combines the body’s wisdom, colored light, and feeling tones of the ocean’s movement and healing into embodied materiality. The chromograms that result are both elegant and uncanny. Playful shapes, color fields, and angles emerge and tangle across the richly layered surfaces. Echos of the ocean’s transmissions of healing and wellness transpire through the abstractions, hearkening back to her long hours spent in the ocean as a dedicated surfer and ocean activist.

In the lineage of the Process Art movement, Kent creates performance constraints for her chromograms. Each piece is a collaboration between her, the chromogenic paper, light, embodied meditation, and the ocean. The process involves going into a pitch-black dark room, doing a body scan meditation, placing light sensitive paper onto a table, and then holding a state of embodied movement meditation. Influenced by the movements of the ocean she then dances around the room with activating flashlights. As the lights fall throughout the room and onto the page in seemingly random ways, the light sensitive paper records all of the movements in the space. Once the movement meditation is complete the paper is then processed to no longer be light sensitive. The result is a unique, time based recording of an abstract and spontaneous embodied response to the transmissions received by the ocean. These unique works are titled with a process-specific name – Chromogram which is a conglomeration of the words chronos (time), chroma (color) and gram (recording/drawing). With this work, she insists upon her body, her energy, and the ocean—all in vibrant and intense color. All alive.

Natalja Kent lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally at Tate Liverpool (UK), Carpenter Center for The Visual Arts at Harvard (Boston), Pace Gallery New York (NY), The Berry Art Museum (VA), Hiromi Yoshi Gallery (Japan), The Museum of Museums (Seattle), PS1 and MOMA Queens (NY). In 2021, Kent. was an artist in residence at Google (Mountain View) and Camera Obscura (Santa Monica). Kent’s work has been reviewed or featured in WIRED, ArtNet, Voyage LA Magazine, and Manual/RISD Museum Publications.

Nick McPhail (b. 1982) is a painter and sculptor using renaissance techniques to consider the peripheral mundanity of urban life.

The peripheral is at the core of my practice. What we see but do not focus on; what we overlook or take for granted. The quiet subject matter of my work – empty streets, architecture meeting vegetation, power lines dividing the sky, dancing shadows on a wall – is revealed as a voyeuristic element of urban life. Each of my works begins with observation. I use photography to capture moments of detail and the resulting images are the starting points for future compositions. I then translate them into oil, acrylic, and gouache paintings on canvas, wood, and paper. 

I start with a bright base color, a painting technique borrowed from the renaissance, to set the overall tone and energy for the painting. Then I build layers of oil paint, combining washes and textures to create a history within the piece. Personal memory and intuition dictate how much of the underpainting is revealed as the final composition takes shape. The finished paintings are not a literal representation of a specific place, building, or tree. Each is influenced by the source imagery, but is abstracted and edited as I work with it in the studio.

McPhail was born and raised in Laingsburg, Michigan, Nick attended Michigan State University where he studied painting and ceramics, graduating with a BFA in 2006. Since then, he has maintained a consistent practice that has evolved to rely on personal observation and photography as the basis for his intuitive compositions. Recent solo exhibitions include: Reynolds Gallery in Richmond, VA (2023); Massey Klein in New York (2023); Amélie Maison d’Art in Paris (2022); Ochi Projects in Los Angeles (2020); Untitled_1983 in Geneva (2019); and Holiday in Los Angeles (2018). He has completed residencies at Untitled_1983 in Geneva (2019); Ochi Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho (2019); and 100 West Corsicana in Corsicana, Texas (2018). He is a 2023 Hopper Prize Finalist and In 2017 he was awarded a grant to attend a residency at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, Vermont. His work is in private collections throughout the United States, Europe, and beyond.

Oolong Gallery  

687 2nd St. Encinitas, CA 92024

Telephone +1 858 229 2788