Catalytic Confections: Adam Handler and Ms.Dyu @ Ascaso Gallery, Miami
Ascaso Gallery is pleased to announce Catalytic Confections, a two-person exhibition of work by painters Adam Handler and Ms.Dyu, opening August 4th. The juxtaposition of these bodies of work creates a dialogue between two artists mining veins of whimsy and personal philosophy in strikingly different ways.
Raised in Queens, now working in nearby Armonk, Adam Handler discovered his artistic spark as a child in his grandparents’ New York framing factory. Surrounded with paintings by the likes of Chagall, de Kooning, Basquiat and Haring, Handler began emulating his favorites as a teen, and later focused his own creative voice by studying life drawing in Italy and earning a BA in art history, aiming to avoid the strictures of fine art education and retain the sensibility of “an outsider, but an informed outsider.” Employing candy-colored acrylics and the childlike scrawl of oil stick, often working in monumental scale, he strives to channel the raw, confident energy of innocence. In pairing sweet imagery of girls, flowers and friendly ghosts with “sinister entities” like bats, ghouls and UFOs, he confronts his own trepidation about the transience of life by enveloping it in joyful exuberance, ultimately seeking to catalyze an emotional reaction in the viewer.
Handler counts a lack of perfection among his most precious tools. “It’s hard to be simple,” he says. “It’s one of the hardest things – to stop.” His exhibitions include major art fairs and solo shows in New York, London, Paris, Seoul and Taipei.
Brought up in a Russian seaside town, now living in Dubai, Ms.Dyu began painting in her teens, and honed her craft while earning a BFA in design and an interdisciplinary MLA. Her early career in 3D modeling may contribute a cartoonish aspect to these oil paintings, in which colossal female figures, often split or twinned, crowd the frame as if confined within it, peering out with mischievous or searching expressions. Though nude, Dyu’s giantesses convey no sexuality – rather, their distorted bodies suggest a conflict between women’s desires and societal expectations. Set in minimalist seascapes afloat with tiny clouds like swirls of vanilla frosting, they summon echoes of Picasso’s surrealist-period paintings of women at the beach; but whereas Picasso’s women are merely observed, Dyu’s are the observer. They glance at us sharply through veils of hair reminiscent of the Muslim niqāb, their gaze narrowed by eyelids depicted, in stark contrast to their curvaceous surroundings, as trompe l’oeil rectangles floating over the surface of the canvas like shutters poised to slam shut.
From within two notoriously male-dominated cultures, Ms.Dyu provokes questions about feminine agency, pulling women’s dreams and society’s ulterior motives into the spotlight. Her recent exhibitions include shows in New York, Paris, Dubai, China and Japan