Enigmantic

 

Miha Sarani – Jan. 2nd – Feb. 1st 2020

 

One of My Turns, Acrylic 

Peggy Murphy

Everywhere At Once is the enigmatic title of Miha Sarani’s new show at Shift Gallery. Here, Sarani exhibits what seems to be a fairly straightforward series of figurative paintings.  On closer examination this work defies an easy explanation. With titles such as The Entertainer, The Conversation We Never Had, and Inseparable, a narrative is suggested. His deftly nuanced figures seem to tell part of the story and further narrative details are filled in by the atmospheric handling of paint. The color in this work is darkly monochromatic. Bright color explodes in small areas or blinding fields. There is an intentional unevenness in the work; sketchy and painterly, finished and rough, a pastiche of sorts. Areas are unsettling. A strange yellow ground wraps around a boy’s ear. Faces are blurred. The work does not have a buttoned-down quality. It is rough, a little edgy, and seems as if every image is a prelude to something dangerous or unpredictable.

Accompanying these narrative pieces is a group of brightly painted portraits. Again, the nuances of body language are nicely captured. A slouched torso, a tilted chin, a twisted neck, all tell us something about the subject. The flat graphic style is contrasted by a thick layering of color paint across the face. Perhaps this is a comment about painting, or as a way to mask the vulnerability and identity of his subjects – a secret between painter and the painted.

Sarani views the world through the dual lens of art historian and artist. He mines the past and present, the personal and the universal in search of ideas and inspiration. These he charges with a deep intensity and personal code. One senses that his quest is a bit like being everywhere at once.