Martos Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by David Malek, on view November 7 – December 21, 2013 with an opening reception on Thursday, November 7, from 6–8 pm.
Malek creates enamel symmetries that drive an ongoing investigation of the formal as well as the signifying aspects of light, color, and space. Anchored in repetitive forms and patterns, the works on view rely on simple figure-ground relationships between two colors and two textures—one made with a brush and the other with a roller. This systematic approach results in a deconstruction of image that ultimately returns to the source material, uniting the depicted symbol or pattern with a visually contrasting background. The effect is such that the material seemingly pulses on the surface and an inner luminosity creeps through the canvas, embracing an altered state of perception.
Malek has described this system as a “dialectical” solution—an arrangement of symbol and color that diminishes extraneous information in order to generate a visceral response. Approaching painting as a “pseudo-philosophical” challenge, the formal elements in each piece draw from an array of specific events, motifs, or themes culled from contemporary history. In Ra, Malek alludes to Sigmund Freud’s 1937 book, Moses and Monotheism, in which Freud asserts that the concept of monotheism originates in the deified solar disk of Ancient Egypt. Bridging a relationship between this powerful figure and the romantic and unique light that flows through the city of Paris—the artist’s current home—Malek resituates these icons so that they become endowed with a meaning beyond their theological origins. Other works on view take inspiration from the gardens of Versailles, the filmmaker Eric Rohmer, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Indian Tantra paintings and the surrounding architecture in his Parisian neighborhood.
Through a pure and primal drive to create and expand, each work functions as an experiment for the next culminating in an epistemological narrative that seeks to elicit a distinctive observation of reality. The result is a meditation on the act of looking through the act of painting.
David Malek was born in 1977 in Springfield, Illinois and received his MFA from Hunter College, New York in 2006. Most recently, his work has been exhibited in Vedovi Gallery, Brussels; Le Salle de Bains, Lyon; Golden Gallery, Chicago and Galerie Triple V, Paris. He has been included in several group shows at Martos Gallery, including Creature From the Blue Lagoon and The 2011 Bridgehampton Biennial, both curated by Bob Nickas. Malek lives and works in Paris, France.