Jerome Lagarrigue: Shoreline to Open at Fridman Gallery in May




Jerome Lagarrigue, Towards Soufriere, 2023, oil on linen, 96 x 72″. Image courtesy Fridman Gallery

Fridman Gallery is honored to announce Shoreline, the first solo exhibition with the gallery by Jerome Lagarrigue.

An accomplished portraitist recognized for powerful interpretations of his subjects’ interior, psychological spaces, Lagarrigue centers his new body of work on observations of coastal life in the Caribbean. This geographical restriction and the seemingly mundane activities depicted in the paintings allow the artist and his viewers to focus on incremental, subtle changes in light and color. The scenes unfold slowly – fishermen looking out onto expanses of water and sky, grocers tending to their inland shops, people going about their everyday life.

Belying this seeming placidity is a drama of the elements. Depending on weather conditions, the coastal space undergoes extreme transformations from dawn to dusk, from sunshine to an approaching storm. Lagarrigue is keenly perceptive of the electric hues that occur naturally here, as if the subjects of his paintings are lit from behind. The sky turns fluorescent green before the hurricane. A boat is split in half – a deep mauve in the shadow of a fisherman, it turns bright pink in the sun piercing through the dark clouds.

Jerome Lagarrigue, Before the storm, 2024, Oil on board, 36 x 36″. Image courtesy Fridman Gallery

Stark juxtapositions of colors and surfaces – unevenly lit facades, different shapes and shades of sky, water and vegetation – offer a myriad possibilities for bridging figuration and abstraction. A pink wall against a gray sky is reminiscent of Rothko’s sfumato bands of color, except that here they exist in real life, right in front of the painter’s eyes. This is a play without beginning or end, a play of light and shadow on the borderline of perception.

Hidden in the paintings’ undertones are the unspoken stories of the citizens of these coasts, many of whom trace their heritage to the West Coast of Africa. It is the coastal population who have to adapt to new living conditions due to their direct exposure to extreme weather increasingly caused by climate change.

Lagarrigue’s landscapes convey a subtle tension ~ the bountiful, beautiful shoreline is there, within reach, yet impossible to grasp; it’s a restricted space suggested by the painting.

Jerome Lagarrigue (b. 1973, Paris; lives and works in New York City) is a French American artist who grew up in Paris and received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 1996. A recipient of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, and the Villa Medici grant, Lagarrigue taught drawing and painting at the Parsons School of Design.

In 2007 Lagarrigue illustrated Maya Angelou’s book Poetry for Young People. In 2009 he was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to paint sets for a production of Tosca. In 2009-2010, he was commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera to paint sets for a production of Tosca, and by Georges Lucas to create a painting commemorating the Star Wars trilogy.

Lagarrigue has had institutional solo exhibitions at the RISD Museum (Providence), Villa Medici (Rome), and Palais de la Bourse (Marseilles). In addition to a number of notable private collections, his work is in the public collections of the Studio Museum in Harlem and the Brooklyn Museum, where it is currently on view in Giants, from the Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys.

Jerome Lagarrigue: Shoreline will be on view from May 3 to June 15, 2024 at Fridman Gallery, 169 Bowery NYC. An Opening Reception will be held on Friday, May 3rd from 6-8pm.