If you've picked up any issue of Juxtapoz in the past year, you might have noticed that figurative painting is having a real golden moment in the art world right now. New York seems to be at the center of this new contemporary movement and Brooklyn-based painter Louis Fratino is a shining example of how emerging artists are translating their own experiences onto canvas in beautiful new ways. Last month, Fratino opened a new solo exhibition, Come Softly To Me at Sikkema Jenkins & Co., showcasing a huge body of work that affectionately stares deep into your soul and makes you fall in love with painting all over again, one stroke at a time.

Some of Fratino's largest works to-date are on display, contributing to an altar-like effect on the viewer. When confronted with Fratino's piece “I Keep My Treasure In My Ass”, an intense scene of one figure birthing another, with the latter almost slipping off the canvas, his arms outstretched, it's hard not to be impressed. It's sexual yes, but also incredibly spiritual. One can think of Caravaggio's 16th century reverse crucified St. Peter or even one of Fuseli's neoclassical scenes. It's unapologetically fleshy, deeply psychological and lovingly tender all at once. Another huge canvas titled “Metropolitan” (named after a famous gay bar in Brooklyn) shows tightly packed club-goers, lit from above via the chromatic artificial lights and engaged in various forms of sexual contact. Paul Cadmus's 1934 controversial homoerotic painting “The Fleet's In” comes to mind.

Fratino installation view SJCo 4 2019 9

Come Softly To Me is a gorgeous view into the life of the artist. His figures are sensual and honest, caring and generous. The exhibition is on view through May 24th at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Be sure to see it in-person before it closes.

Article by Jessica Ross. Images courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co. Gallery.