Preview: Bryan Rogers Paints the "Wallflowers"
The lounging nude in Floral Recliner (2023), resplendent in a landscape bursting with an array of imaginative plants and flowers, nestles right up to the very edge of the painting. In Floral Rocker (2023), a self-possessed man appears peaceful amid a psychedelic field, yet in contrast, his body is clumsily positioned. The men in Rogers’ works pose awkwardly, yet flamboyantly, as though they are trying to fit into a space. The deliberate lines and poses of the figures echo Egyptian statues or Greek sculptures. The men depicted represent no singular person; they are composites of the artist and the queer middle- aged men closest to him: his partner and his brother. Queer identity is an intrinsic part of the work.
The shapes and patterns in Rogers’ paintings are inspired by the Viennese Succession and Art Deco movements, tapestry, hippy culture, psychedelia and folk art. Similar to the components that comprise Art Nouveau, Rogers is interested in symmetry and natural forms such as the sinuous curves of plants and flowers.
For this exhibition, Rogers introduces interiors. In these, the outside and inside world merge seamlessly, or appear to. These richly colored and immensely detailed paintings are concerned with natural and constructed environments. Throughout the exhibition, men build and assemble. Figures are compartmentalized in grids which further creates a division between the natural world and non-organic settings. This tension raises questions about our relationship to and spiritual connection with the natural world.