Eighteen is pleased to present
A solo exhibition by Derek Aylward
OPENING RECEPTION: FRIDAY APRIL 22. 2022. TIME: 16:00 – 21:00
EXHIBITION PERIOD: APRIL 23 – JUNE 11. 2022
Tennis players, animals, mystical creatures, cartoonish characters, chess pieces and superheroes populate Derek Aylward’s dynamic and playful compositions. Raw and energetic, thoughtful and fragile, the compositions borderline collapse, a full glass placed too close to the edge of the table. Aylward manages this inherent tension with grace in his exuberant paintings that engage the viewer in an urgent and intuitive manner. The works reflect a conflicted and fragmented world that is hard to make sense of, but rather than to succumb to despair or apathy, the works cultivate the potential in chaos.
In the vibrant painting Ship of Super Fools, 2022 (acrylic on canvas, 121 x 152 cm), a motley gang of superheroes are stuck together in an overloaded bright yellow canoe-like vessel. Robin is looking worried about the situation with a lit cigarette in hand, Spiderman has lost his pants but is still conveying manly confidence, Batman is struggling to hold on to Superman whose limp body is in the water, his features expressing the pain and melancholy that comes with defeat, while there is barely space for the bulging and panic-stricken Hulk clutching a giant pineapple in neither ship nor composition. The painting seems to be a contemporary paraphrase of Géricault’s famous painting The Raft of the Medusa (1818-19), originally titled Shipwreck Scene, conveying the same feelings of confusion, despair, madness and hope. How do we make sense of the world? We might not, but in the act of engaging the unintelligible, there is a defiant hope.
While some of the larger paintings bustle with action and unruly characters and creatures, the smaller works lend surface to contemplative and distilled scenarios. Singular personages caught in the headlight of Aylward’s painterly attention. Rendered with broad brush work and cubist features, you sense an immediate intimacy with these subjects.
Aylward’s figurative language builds on a long lineage of expressive painting, you sense Pablo Picasso, Willem de Kooning, Daniel Johnston, Rose Wylie and Eddie Martinez in the conversation.
His expression is imbued with an unrestrained immediacy and joy in painting, creating images that feel radical and classic, intuitive and free, while equally laborious and carefully composed, with a sense of concern for both protagonists and vessels, the stupid and the important. In the world with you.
Derek Aylward (b. 1976, Boston, USA) lives and works in Quincy, Massachusetts, US. Recent exhibitions include Screen Door on a Submarine (2021), SHRINE, New York, US, High Voltage (2020), nassima laandau, Tel Aviv, Israel, and Peanuts (2019), Eighteen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Gone Fishing is Aylward’s first solo exhibition with the V1 Gallery & Eighteen-family and will be accompanied by catalogue documenting the process and exhibition.