Emerging Painters Narrate Psyches

Article excerpt

Memphian Travis Carrier received a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design two years ago. Now he's back in town temporarily, installing an exhibition of his recent paintings at Marshall Arts.

Sharing the space is his friend and fellow graduate, Andy Pomykalski, also showing recent paintings. The exhibition, titled "Pretty Young Thing," will be displayed through April 13.

"Pretty Young Thing"?

"We thought a lot about the exhibition name," said Carrier, cleaning up the walls at Marshall Arts on Tuesday. "It was hard to come up with something that worked for us together and had the associations we wanted. We chose the title of this Michael Jackson song because we're young, sort of" - each is 24 - "and the art we make is young."

Carrier and Pomykalski share studio space in Brooklyn, an important association for young artists, "because it's helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off. We've been having this conversation going for a year and a half, not just between us but between the work. It all flows together."

That work is figurative in nature but not absolutely realistic, a harkening to interior states manifested in dream-like, almost allegorical form.

"I see the work as psychological narrative," Carrier said. "There are symbolic aspects. There's like some kind of new romance with the materials and subject matter. The figures combine with some sort of realism but keeping it open for exploration."

The results are cryptic, ambiguous yet evocative, as in Carrier's painting "Under Debauched Skies," in which a deep blue river separates two banks, on one of which, in the distance, a ghostly figure emerges from a tomb, while closer to the viewer, a couple sitting on the ground embrace and a standing women appears to eat from a platter; between them lies a monumental marble head, perhaps fallen from or knocked from a piece of Classical sculpture. …