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Press Release

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Max Maslansky presented in conjunction with 5 Car Garage.

Jouissance will feature new paintings made on found bed sheets, pillows, and curtains that expand on techniques and themes Manslansky has been developing in recent bodies of work, including those featured in exhibitions at the Hammer Museum and 5 Car Garage. Using domestic textiles in place of traditional linen or canvas, Maslansky begins each work on a ground with pre-existing visual information that becomes an inextricable part of the work. Patterns and colors alternately compete and mesh with the paint and compositions Maslansky manipulates on the fabrics’ surfaces. Employing a mixture of washy pigments and layers of gesso and color combined with areas of opaque, thick paint, Maslansky’s treatment of his medium is a testament to his interest in the materiality of painting. The oftentimes psychedelic background patterns, color fields, and acid hues bring abstraction into otherwise figurative images, furthering Maslansky’s investigations into the potential of painting.

Maslansky renders his images of anonymous figures in various states of undress and sexually charged activities in such a way that allows psychological and emotional readings of the found images he works from. Looking at male and female figures, Maslansky considers both subject and object in the processes of expressing sexuality and documenting that sexuality at the stage when the source photograph was made, but what ultimately propels the work forward is his position as the painter of the source image. The choices he makes with regard to the palettes, compositions, and degrees of detail he renders underscore his position and bias within the subject and object relationship inherent in image-making.

Informed by themes from Stanley Kubrick’s 1999 film Eyes Wide Shut, the paintings in Jouissance flirt with the concept of a fantasy turning into a nightmare. The film is based on Dream Story, a novella written by Arthur Schnitzler in 1926. At the center of the film and novel is the concept of a psychosexual dream so powerful that it engulfs the dreamer. This idea provided a natural evolution for Maslansky’s explorations into the inherently strange and often awkward documentation of sex acts and fetish images available on the internet. The concept of “jouissance” as outlined in Jacques Lacan’s writings on psychoanalysis is a type of all-encompassing joy that moves beyond Sigmund Freud’s idea of the pleasure principle to exceed the subject’s capacity for pleasure. As a result, the subject experiences pain. The general terms “pleasure” and “pain”, however, cannot adequately describe jouissance, which is an entirely subjective experience with infinite nuance. In Maslansky’s work, these transgressions and excesses are laid bare for our reflection.

Max Maslansky was born in Los Angeles in 1976 and lives in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY in 1999 and a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA in 2006. Masklansky’s concurrent one-person exhibition Midnight Blue is at Galerie Sebastien Bertrand in Geneva, Switzerland. His work has been included in exhibitions such as Made in L.A., Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2014); Made in Space, Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, and Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY (2013); Boiled Angel, The Woodmill GP, London, England (2013); Object-Orientation, Cerritos College Art Gallery, Cerritos, CA (2011); Merch Mart!, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA (2010); and Collisions and Pileups, Armory Center for the Arts, Pasadena, CA (2006).