The new Fall art season In New York started on September 5 (through October 13) with a blast: the David Sandlin exhibition “Age of Enfrightenment“. If you read “Enfrightenment” as enlightenment, I did too. But it is obvious once you see these eerie pictures, fright is right.
“David Sandlin is a prolific, critical voice mining the badlands of American culture and history. His allegorical works combine dense and lush imagery with satirical texts and are presented in paintings, prints, installations, artist’s books and comic books,” notes the Owen James Gallery (59 Wooster Street, NYC). “‘In Age of Enfrightenment,” Sandlin wades through the underside of America and its many monsters with his signature theatrical ridicule and the struggle between hope and dread.”
The recent paintings in Age of Enfrightenment are populated more by the politicians, monsters, insects, condemned trees and the ghosts of terrorists are reigning over the fall of the American Empire. This is represented literally in scenes where words are shattered over high-cliff waterfalls, and dissolve into the collecting pools of abandon.
The exhibition coincides with the launch of the Sandlin monograph, Sleep of History (Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, Birmingham, Alabama), which includes an excerpt from Belfaust, Sandlin’s work-in-progress graphic novel set both in Belfast and Birmingham that follows a series of characters with quotidian struggles and a Faustian struggle for identity.