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Art review: Scott Treleaven at Marc Selwyn Fine Art

July 9, 2010 | 10:00 am
Cimitero-drawing_16 2 The famed Cimitero Monumentale in Milan, Italy, is the starting point for a lovely group of 11 collage-drawings by Canadian artist Scott Treleaven, who works in Paris. The 19th-century cemetery is known for its elaborate sculptural decorations, personifications of death and its aftermath that here are used to start an animating process.

In his second solo show at Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Treleaven begins by collaging a cut-out figure, usually male and photographed in black and white, onto a large sheet of paper. The fragment of cemetery embellishment is then itself embellished with drawing.

Vinyl paint, wax pastel, gouache and acrylic, often in vibrant hues, is liberally applied. Vigorous gestures of the artist's hand surround frozen sculptural gestures made by angels, mourners, consoling figures and other mordant symbols of lamentation.

Sometimes paint covers pictured body parts, fragmenting the figure. In one, a muscled arm parallels an adjacent leg to create a torqued rectangle. In another, a despondent figure kneels by a blocky tomb, twisting his body in sultry display.

Expressionist gestures being as dead a motif as the interred bodies, the slurry of green pigment that obliterates the first torso and the atmospheric cloud of golden color that erases the second's head are their own luxurious reward. Treleaven's drawings offer a High Romantic rumination. Mortality and memory are essential engines for the meaningful satisfactions of sensual play.

-- Christopher Knight

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Marc Selwyn Fine Art, 6222 Wilshire Blvd., (323) 933-9911, through Saturday.

Photo: Scott Treleaven, "Cimitero #16," 2010, wax, pastel, flashe and collage on paper; Credit: Marc Selwyn Fine Art