Chicago’s Patron Gallery presents GREG BREDA & MYRA GREENE Glimmers Through Dark Matter
GREG BREDA (Main Image credit: GREG BREDA, I find it hard to say, 2019, acrylic on vellum. 65.25″x 61.25″)
Through a layered exchange between symbolism and material, Breda’s portraits present us with introspective narratives and moments of contemplation. These moments air with a feeling of the personal – a woman writing in her diary or a boy glancing thoughtfully at himself through a mirror in his bedroom- yet their narratives reveal further through a slow read in Breda’s choice of imagery and compositions. The works are painted on vellum, a material which both absorbs and reflects light. The duality of the vellum’s materiality allows for the layers of Breda’s bold brush strokes to interact with light, highlighting the color complexities within the gestures and their environments. Breda’s incorporation of flowers, patterns, and specific objects is used as a system of symbolic gestures toward a multifaceted narrative open to numerous interpretive reads. Within each work we see a variety of botanicals, Fig Trees, Proteas and Cherry Blossoms to name a few, together a collection of allegorical references to enlightenment, a poetic language of flowers. The collective importance of these references lies in presenting moments of balance, individuals finding themselves in deep thought and subjective transformation. These moments of refection are mirrored in the subjects’ surroundings. Windows allow light to shine throughout the various works, illuminating the spaces and figures, a translucency of the body gestured in the use of the vellum and Breda’s mark making. Breda’s work is a portrait of the human spirit, a series of love letters to the internal moments within us all that illuminate the illusions that create our reality.
Greene uses a diverse photographic practice to explore representations of race. In the most recent body of work, Undertone, the artist returned to the creation of ambrotypes, this time utilizing stained glass as support. The images are utterly transformed by the different colors of the glass itself, and vary according to the color they are set against. This series touches upon themes central in other works as well: the shifting, unstable nature of photography and how our understanding of color is completely dependent on its context, both literally and in terms of race. Greene is also currently working on a new body of work that uses African textiles as a material and pattern to explore her own relationship to culture.