February 12, 2009, New York, NY – New, psychologically compelling paintings by Paul Fenniak, will be on view at Forum Gallery from Thursday, February 26 through Saturday, April 11. The paintings in this exhibition bridge realism and symbolism, posing inevitable and inexorable questions about the events portrayed. In his New York Times review of Fenniak’s debut exhibition at Forum Gallery, Ken Johnson described the Artist’s painting as having “a genuinely haunting, cinematic monumentality. It reminds one that the narrative as well as painterly possibilities of traditional, figurative representation are still far from exhausted.”
Fenniak describes his current body of work in terms of two themes: the unbridgeable gulf between people; and the longing for escape. The artist cites George Simenon in a 1955 interview: “One [theme] is the problem of communication. I mean communication between two people. The fact that we are, I don’t know how many millions of people, yet communication, complete communication, is completely impossible between two of these people, is to me one of the biggest tragic themes in the world.” … “Another [is] the theme of escape. Between two days changing your life completely: without caring at all what has happened before…”
These themes came together for the artist in a series of recent news items involving people plotting their own kidnappings and one involving a woman stalking her romantic rival. Fenniak also notes that the two themes, to a much lesser degree, are discernible in his own life and in the lives of those around him. Two trips to Iceland, in 2004 and 2006, provided additional source material.
As he paints, Fenniak seeks a subtle balance between the accurate description of these life situations and the manipulation of appearances in order to allow them to operate as metaphor. He strives for “a convincing world that will draw in the viewer: a world of concrete detail which is at the same time an intangible, intimate, interior world, revealing unexpressed emotions.”
Fenniak lives and works in Montreal. His work is included in the collection of the Seven Bridges Foundation, Greenwich, CT and private collections in the United States, Canada and Europe. Fenniak was the subject of a traveling solo exhibition organized by the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, and has been included in exhibitions at the Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA; The Naples Museum of Art, Naples, FL; and the Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, AR. among others.
An opening reception with the Artist will take place on Thursday February 26, 2009 at Forum Gallery, 745 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, Fourth Floor, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibition continues through Saturday, April 11, 2009. A 24-page full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition and is available from the gallery for $20.00. The entire exhibition can be viewed online at www.forumgallery.com/currentseason. For more information please contact the Gallery.
Johnson, Ken “Art In Review, Paul Fenniak,” The New York Times, April 23, 1999.
“The Art of Fiction No. 9: George Simenon” interview with The Paris Review, 1955.
Location: New York 4th Floor