Recent Paintings

April 5 – May 4, 2024

Freight + Volume is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Paul Sevigny. The works will be on view at 39 Lispenard St. in Tribeca from April 5, 2024 - May 4, 2024. This is Sevigny's second solo exhibition with the gallery.

The recent paintings of acclaimed nightlife impresario Paul Sevigny have a sophistication about them that accords well with the artist’s dealings in music and finance, as well as nightlife. The works on view present a colorful motley of textures and patterns, which, however pleasing to the eye, pull no punches when it comes to experimenting with the greater potentials of paint and pigment.

Ranging from pixelated anti-portraits, to landscape-like constellations of line and color, Sevigny’s measured minimalism and exploded abstraction readily recalls the brushwork of Clyfford Still. In the way he resolves abstract canvases into a certain, unmistakable mood, he shows how color can be used to give an impression without depicting anything directly. Similar to well-known works by Stuart Davis, what’s essential is that the overall impression of a painting feels constructed from many parts. In this light, one can view each gestural aspect of Sevigny’s works, every determination of color, line, and texture, as a kind of signature that speaks to the integrity of the whole.

Sevigny often stylizes his chosen subject-matter, parsing it out into geometric blocks and mosaics of color. Untitled 1 will appear differently to viewers depending on whether it’s viewed close up or from far away. And it reveals different aspects depending on whether one looks at it in passing, or patiently lingers with it. This open-endedness is a tactical weapon in Sevigny’s arsenal, and stems from his interest in New York School-styled abstraction as much as empathetic observation.

Sevigny’s use of painterly gestures and textures not only highlights the interpenetration of his mosaic-like patterns, but lends his works a sort of otherworldly elegance. The layered scenes he depicts generally have the overall feeling of an encounter—the visual rhythms mixing with allusions to the everyday world. Untitled 3 and Untitled 10 both convey this sense of conjoining, of mutual greeting, in their respective ways. Communicating a sense of ambiguity reminiscent of Philip Guston, the more open-ended palette Sevigny uses in Untitled 3 creates a scene that feels both allegorical and figurative. Similarly, Untitled 10 plays with planar relations against an off-white backdrop, where the continual mingling of different colors, textures, and shapes represents significant moments in an almost diagrammatic space.

There’s a dramatic aspect to Sevigny’s paintings that operates in real time. His work with texture and color is a conscious decision that allows for the greatest interplay of patterned surfaces and multivalent shapes to assemble themselves. Despite the abstract nature of his work, there’s also something of a figurative bent detectable across his canvases. This movement between abstraction and representation is not so much a site of tension as a dynamic source of dramatic life. Sevigny’s paintings are both playful and adventurously nonobjective. Viewers’ eyes can trace the outlines of his storied, puzzle-like blocks into the scenes of an open-ended mosaic—intimating situationships, or the contours of a face in profile, as much as sprawling urban settings.