Jun 122024

Jerome Lagarrigue has created an impressive series of paintings for Shoreline, his current exhibition at Fridman Gallery. The work allows the viewer to imagine these brief moments in the lives of his subjects.

From the gallery-

An accomplished portraitist recognized for powerful interpretations of his subjects’ interior, psychological spaces, Lagarrigue centers his new body of work on observations of coastal life in the Caribbean. This geographical restriction and the seemingly mundane activities depicted in the paintings allow the artist and his viewers to focus on incremental, subtle changes in light and color. The scenes unfold slowly – fishermen looking out onto expanses of water and sky, grocers tending to their inland shops, people going about their everyday life.

​Belying this seeming placidity is a drama of the elements. Depending on weather conditions, the coastal space undergoes extreme transformations from dawn to dusk, from sunshine to an approaching storm. Lagarrigue is keenly perceptive of the electric hues that occur naturally here, as if the subjects of his paintings are lit from behind. The sky turns fluorescent green before the hurricane. A boat is split in half – a deep mauve in the shadow of a fisherman, it turns bright pink in the sun piercing through the dark clouds.

Stark juxtapositions of colors and surfaces – unevenly lit facades, different shapes and shades of sky, water and vegetation – offer a myriad possibilities for bridging figuration and abstraction. A pink wall against a gray sky is reminiscent of Rothko’s sfumato bands of color, except that here they exist in real life, right in front of the painter’s eyes. This is a play without beginning or end, a play of light and shadow on the borderline of perception.

​Hidden in the paintings’ undertones are the unspoken stories of the citizens of these coasts, many of whom trace their heritage to the West Coast of Africa. It is the coastal population who have to adapt to new living conditions due to their direct exposure to extreme weather increasingly caused by climate change. Lagarrigue’s landscapes convey a subtle tension – the bountiful, beautiful shoreline is there, within reach, yet impossible to grasp; it’s a restricted space suggested by the paintings.

This exhibition closes 6/15/24.