Blue Setting
11 May–24 June, 2023

May 11 through June 30, 2023

437 Washington Street, Floor 2, New York, NY 10013

Charles Moffett is pleased to inaugurate its new location at 437 Washington Street with a solo exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles-based artist Alec Egan. Titled Blue Setting, the exhibition marks the artist’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. 

On view from May 11 to June 30, the exhibition will present eleven watercolor paintings, alongside seven oil paintings. An intimate look at Egan’s first work in watercolors, the show reveals a new area of the artist’s practice, which traditionally comprises heavily impastoed oil paintings. This inaugural exhibition reflects the gallery’s intention for the new location to provide a platform for extended presentations of a focused or new area of an artist’s practice. Blue Setting showcases Egan’s adroit embrace of the immediacy, delicacy, and confidence that watercolors demand. While sparser and less saturated than his work in oil, the new watercolor paintings continue the artist’s exploration of seemingly banal, domestic interior scenes that possess a deep and aching nostalgia.

In this new series, the artist locates items as varied as a bundle of oranges, an untied hiking boot, and a turkey-and-cheese sandwich on a tablecloth of white florals on a blue background, set against a softly-hued, blue-and-white-striped wallpaper. The setting could be anywhere, the objects universally familiar. They hint at a recent human presence — a pair of reading glasses placed on an open book to save a page, a paint brush resting in a water glass, a hand-crushed soda can — yet there’s no figure in sight. The melancholic tension within that dissonance is where the psychological power of Egan’s work lies. The exhibition’s moment of reveal comes with the large-scale oil painting

Blue Setting, which, with close looking, unveils itself as the composite scene of several watercolors — uniting the individual objects in a single frame, making the spectral human presence all the more potent. 

Alec Egan (b. 1984, Los Angeles; works in Los Angeles. MFA Otis College 2013, BA Kenyon College 2007.) Egan’s bodies of work include thickly impastoed figurative landscapes, and, separately, intricate, vibrantly rendered interior scenes that use object motifs, tropes of nostalgia, and the absence of humans to imbue the depicted objects with something melancholic and profound. A thread of cohesion between paintings begins to emerge as the viewer realizes that each painting within a grouping of works represents a different view of the same theoretical house, conjuring hypothetical narratives around the ‘absent homeowner’ behind the constructed environment. Since 2017, the artist has presented a sequence of exhibitions that each deal with a new portion of a singular imagined home. He has been the subject of recent solo gallery exhibitions at Anat Egbi in Los Angeles (2022, 2021, 2020), at Charles Moffett in New York (2021, 2019), and at Maki Gallery in Tokyo (2021); as well as solo institutional exhibitions at the Dubuque Museum of Art, Dubuque, IA (2019) and the California Heritage Museum, Los Angeles, CA (2017).