We're excited to announce that one of our favorite painters, Brian Calvin will be opening a new exhibition with Almine Rech Shanghai on January 10th, marking his fourth solo show with the gallery. After presentations in Paris and Brussels in the past few years, Sound continues the LA-based artist's longtime fondness for portraiture.

With the portrait as primary constructive element, Calvin renders flat, cartoon compositions in where emotionless looking female faces seem to question the value and intent of selfies. Lush lipped, with heavy makeup, occasionally embellished wiuth ornamentation, they dramatize the ubiquitous obsession with self-presentation of our time. Though people did take photos of themselves in the past, it was not until the emergence of smartphones and social networks that the concept of self portraits gained a whole new meaning, leading Oxford Languages to declare 'selfie' to be the Oxford Word of the Year in 2013. Instead of capturing one's physical appearance in a moment, the gestue became validated through the number of likes, elevated to self-promotion, for friends and followers.

Numb to their surroundings, Calvin's glamour girls prominently feature big eyes, excessively elaborate eye shadow, and prenaturally shiny lips. Yet, they reveal intriguing, almost sinister narratives in details such as a sunny reflection on a polished fingernail. By multiplying each portrait, the artist plays with uniformity and turns his supermodels into a series of visual elements, occasionally breaking further into loose facial features. Playing with different techniques and sizes, he sometimes accents skin texture through the use of color pencil and pastel on paper, or experiments with the dazzling veneer of makeup using acrylics and pastel on canvas, linen, and panel. Varying in size, from small drawings on paper all the way to large canvases, the body of work captures the artist's continuous dedication to scrutinizing his subjects with delicious detail and perception. Sasha Bogojev