SUMMER GROUP EXHIBITION: Melinda Braathen, Paolo Colombo, Pam Evelyn, Reuben Gordon, Iliodora Margellos, Francesca Mollett, Jebila Okongwu and Sophie Wahlquist


Baert Gallery is pleased to present a Summer Group Exhibition featuring Melinda Braathen, Paolo Colombo, Pam Evelyn, Reuben Gordon, Iliodora Margellos, Francesca Mollett, Jebila Okongwu and Sophie Wahlquist. This group show which includes paintings, ceramics and works on paper showcases new and historic works by eight international and Los Angeles-based artists.


Melinda Braathen (b. 1985) relies on drawing to initially capture a fleeting encounter, memory, insight or sensation arising in everyday experiences. Her work is often situated in the physical body and explores the role physiology plays on our psychology and perception. In her paintings, she uses texture, full of contrast and movement, gradations, and energetic brushwork to break down representational and recognizable triggers – like faces, figures, and environments – until a more embodied, abstract language emerges. Through a process of erasure and reconstruction, Braathen’s paintings slowly layer in and integrate the more subtle forces and feeling-tones underlying the original experience. While Braathen generally draws from personal experience, she also pulls from literature, poetry, and interviews between innovative thinkers from different disciplines to explore the inexhaustible architecture of human encounter and conversation. Lives and works in Los Angeles.


Paolo Colombo (b. 1949) illustrates with exactness a lyrical series of moments in his paintings, each holding the intensity of a world. Working with watercolors and pencil drawings. Colombo balances his simple language with a highly technical visual method. Word-based and image-focused works are illuminated through fundamental forms such as the dot, the line, and the square. Paolo Colombo’s passion for texture together with an appreciation for Byzantine and folk arts is also alive in the works. In his later watercolors, often comprised of two or more sheets butting against each other, the lettering and the painted stars and diamonds appear as embroidery, and in consistency with this, the texture of the paper resembles that of cloth. Lives and works in Athens.


Pam Evelyn (b. 1996) creates gestural artworks that embody her impulses. The energy she gathers from observing her surroundings is directed towards the canvas in an attempt to share the raw human experience. While her works are read as abstractions, they are informed by a sensitivity towards figurative and landscape structures. The process of adding and subtracting paint informs her next steps, with the artist responding to the marks and leaving room for surprise, undoing and construction marks. Lives and works in London.


Reuben Gordon (b. 1996) delves into color and the formal qualities of abstraction to create cityscapes and figurative scenes, often set in New York City’s Lower East Side, where he was born and raised, as well as Brooklyn and California. Meaning and emotion are born out of his attention to color and form. Both natural and human beauty are important to his cityscapes. His figures often depict the fun-loving people in his life, through whom he explores humor and its symbiotic melancholy. Lives and works in Los Angeles.


Iliodora Margellos (b. 1985) consciously occupies the fluid space between abstraction and representation in her work. Margellos examines questions that deal with loneliness, anger, restlessness, resilience and human interaction. Her works often evoke natural landscapes and quasi-pagan settings, acting as a metaphor for human psychological states and alluding to an understanding of the human body through its bare, unmediated interaction with nature. Lives and works in Athens.


Francesca Mollett (b. 1991) is interested in the idea of enchantment – a process of falling under a spell of magical influence – as a way of creating agency over events. Inspired by places in the natural world, she creates openings in shallow spaces where geological and meteorological landscapes act as catalysts to explore internal emotional states. Her fluid application of paint creates tense luminous surfaces with boundaries dissolving or resisting between forms. Lives and works in London.


Jebila Okongwu (b. 1975) critiques stereotypes of Africa and African identity and repurposes them as counterstrategies, drawing on African history, symbolism and spirituality. One of his preferred materials is banana boxes; their tropicalized graphics articulate an ‘exotic’ provenance, much like the exoticization of African bodies from an ethnocentric perspective. When these boxes are shipped to the West from Africa, the Caribbean and South America, old routes of slavery are retraced, accentuating existing patterns of migration, trade and exploitation. Having developed a distinct aesthetic by working solely with collage for several years, Okongwu is now transforming and enlarging these works into paintings. The medium of oil paint imparts a surface sensuality that was not possible with collage, and the artist is now able to subtly alter the printed logos and texts of the original boxes, accentuating the personal and sociopolitical narratives which are also present in the works. Lives and works in Rome.


Sophie Wahlquist (b. 1983) departs from a state of mind rather than from a narrative in her works. Playing with different genres of painting and medium, new gestures and perspectives reverse existing ideas. She likes to negotiate the level to which absence can be replaced by clarity of something intangible or how the depiction of something recognizable can become a trigger for imagination. Lives and works in Los Angeles.

Installation Views