Scott Kahn: Afternoon of a Faun @ Harper's Books, NYC
Scott Kahn's paintings, new and old, feel like a literal breath of fresh air. Perhaps that they are all outside, a mixture of landscapes and surrealistic flourishes, all with a bit of Autumnal mood, gives a sense of nostalgia and peace. This presentation of Kahn's works, Afternoon of a Faun, on view at Harper’s Chelsea, Harper’s Apartment and ATM in NY, is a mixture of old and new works, some as back as 1986 and some recent as new as 2020, is full of quiet vitality. Where do we find peace? Where do we find solace? And in each brush stroke, or every tree limb wandering on the canvas, Kahn gives us some beautiful questions to ponder.
The show is named after a painting of the same name (below), Afternoon of a Faun, a 1986 work which Harper's notes "depicts a forward-facing figure in a hazel-toned unitard holding a companion in white lace, horizontally outstretched and enshrouded in a faint, milky aura." The gallery calls it ghostly and tranquil, which is the epitome of all the great works in Kahn's canon.
Further into his decades of practice are stunning images of forests and countryside homes, tucked away underneath foliage, alive with light but still "ghostly" in their own way. There is a lot of fantasy to embrace here, with the subtle brushstrokes almost calming and supernatural. What is apparent is a consistency, from the mid-1980s to these recent works, Kahn is working on a special, unique universe, one of which is so nicely and poignantly presented this month. —Evan Pricco