Pets01 November–14 December, 2019
Charles Moffett is pleased to present Pets, featuring the paintings of Alec Egan. This is the California-based artist's first solo exhibition with the gallery.
The wall of a nostalgia-filled interior is adorned with sprigs of tight orange blooms and sprawling mauve petals, speckled with tiny daisies on an expanse of moss green. On the floor near the baseboard a rapturous bouquet overflows from a vase and a striped tulip curtsies flirtatiously toward the wallpaper behind it. Our eyes scan the height of a canvas where a pair of lace-up work boots dangles from a nail. One of the boots flaunts an unlikely corsage—a piercing blue lily, seemingly plucked from the same posy. To the left, on a surface draped in a lemon-printed tablecloth, rests the same vase, accented by an identical lily.
Or is it to the right?
The scene we describe exists not within the confines of a single work, but across the expanse of multiple canvases. In 2015, Egan began painting the fragments of an illusory home through a strategy of meticulous repetition, constructing room after room from wistful recollections of places that could be known or purely envisioned. These individual spaces, he muses, will one day find each other, cohering into a comprehensive architectural ensemble. In the meantime, we strive, perhaps in vain, to piece together the images, an effort reminiscent of recalling a dream or tracing the steps of an Escherian stairwell. Egan replicates themes with subtle variances: objects morph into new forms or re-emerge in unexpected corners, sometimes only as spectral glimpses. A picture of two palm trees appears as an unembellished postcard one moment and then as an autonomous canvas the next, its scale enlarged, and colors inverted like a negative afterimage in Palms at Dusk. Similarly, Egan’s House by the Sea, a work that is also embedded in the show’s largest painting, Dinette, leads the viewer to believe the inhabitant of this fanciful home longs for a certain life beyond its interior walls. In reality, the world he is building is not a perfect puzzle of precisely corresponding parts, but a memory that refuses to fade—a place of respite that persists in our mind, offering escape, if only momentarily.
A pattern is a gesture that recurs, a sequence of configurations or behaviors we can count on to transpire time and time again, like the floral motif that crawls, vine-like and sensual, up and down the wallpaper of this fictional abode. Not always in service of decorative import or rote duplication, pattern also conjures something less tangible: the unchanging view from a windowsill in the room we grew up in; the wave of emotion that washes over us, predictably, at the faintest hint of a particular scent. Egan’s paintings summon this hazy familiarity. They are reverberations of each other, pulsing toward a resounding coda.
Alec Egan lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He received his MFA from Otis College of Art and Design in 2013. Recent solo exhibitions include Viewing Room at Anat Ebgi Gallery in Los Angeles (2018) and Alec Egan: The Living Room at the Dubuque Museum of Art in Iowa (2019). His work has been included in group exhibitions at the California Heritage Museum (2017) and Torrance Art Museum (2015), among others.