CHRISTIAN ROGERS // read it and weep

On view June 23–July 25, 2016
Opening reception Sunday, June 26, 2016 (3–5PM)

Layered atop the ubiquitous pink pages of the Financial Times, the intimate scenes on view within Christian Rogers’ solo exhibition at Nationale, Read It and Weep, foreground the body as a marker of time and place. Nude men lie languid, caught in private reverie, or pose coyly behind colorful offerings of fruit and flowers. Meanwhile, glowing eyes and comical faces float above the pressing horizon line, overseeing such proceedings with detached judgment. Time stands still—a fraught memory preserved, a quiet daydream infinitely suspended.

Rogers’ romantic scenes are in this manner at once both personal and common. His figures reveal the mark of his hand while also embodying a broader history through the inky names and dates of the still visible newsprint. These afforded glimpses of text also encourage a playful sort of analysis within his collaged landscapes. This urge for interpretation is only heightened by the indexical nature of the initial monotype process, wherein the ink outlines are visibly smudged during the transfer to paper.

While Rogers’ work remains rooted in the abstract tradition, it also, in this figurative and autobiographical impulse, parallels a movement towards what critic Jerry Saltz recently posited as “the art of the first person.” The human body becomes an active site of critical discussion, better able to communicate thoughts and issues than through the passive canvases of abstraction. As with Read It and Weep, while we may not grasp every layer, we are still able to identify and connect with Rogers’ universal sentiments. 

Christian Rogers received his BFA from Western Oregon University. He currently lives and works out of New York, NY, where he is also pursuing his MFA at Hunter College. Rogers has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at Stumptown Coffee Roasters (Portland, OR), and has also shown at Galerie Protégé, New York, NY; Canon Gallery of Art, Monmouth, OR; the University of North Dakota; Mary Lou Zeek Gallery, Salem, OR; and the Portland Art Museum’s Miller Gallery. Rogers’ work can be found within the permanent collections of the Western Oregon University Student Union and the Denver Art Museum. He is a 2016 Kossak Travel Grant recipient at Hunter College.

Interview with Gabi Lewton-Leopold

Review by Lusi Lukova

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