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New paintings and works on paper by David Kroll on view at Littlejohn Contemporary
Heron and Vase, 2014, oil on panel, 24x24
NEW YORK, NY.- David Kroll uses a repertoire of lush backdrops of sepia-toned landscapes fore-grounded with isolated objects such as vases, fruit and birds. These still-life elements are held in place with the febrile register of sentient life in the form of minutely detailed fauna and insect life that give a sense of arrested motion to all of his pictorial imagery. Kroll's paintings are of internal worlds. They are of private memories trapped, as if in amber, within a time of glowing solitude--- a proto-Romanticist's recollection in a moment of tranquility. Within that solitary moment the hushed expectancy in Kroll's paintings settles over scale shifts in which fore-, mid- and background space mesh as a seamless whole. Each painting is the stage for the artist's deliberately conflated landscapes, still-lifes and naturalistic imagery. It is where a sense of the fragility of life, ever-present, is a recurring motif and in which the perpetual suggestion of mortality and evanescence predominates over the artist's naturalistic scenarios.

Kroll's mysterious paintings can be seen as hybrid works incorporating both plein-air allusions placed paradoxically within the suggested confines of staged mis-en-scenes. In these confines hovering bees, fluttering butterflies, scurrying salamanders, atavistically cautious and alert egrets and myriad other fauna give the sensation of restrained movement in restricted spaces. This sensation intensifies the suggested visual trope that is set in place by the artist in all of his works: an internal world suddenly exposed. In this world a curtain of vision has suddenly been pushed aside to unveil for the first time a particular type of dramatic pictorial eloquence that commands attention from the viewer.

As written by Michael Upchurch of The Seattle Times last September, "...this Seattle-based artist's work is a delightfully fanciful exercise in artifice. In his most recent work, Kroll repeatedly organizes his natural-world details into highly mannered compositions that keep the viewer continually off-balance. Within the scope of a single painting, the subtlety with which his imagery seems to slip from still-life intimacies to rolling mountain landscape and sublime sky expanses spurs the viewer to think and see on two entirely different scales simultaneously - and sometimes even three or four, when there's a painted vase in the picture. In short, there are world within worlds here, and the interaction between them is both playful and illuminating".

David Kroll himself adds: "My intentions explore the paradoxical relationship between human culture and the natural world. ...It is not my intention to create an accurate depiction of a particular creature or habitat, but to create an invented, imaginary moment touching upon man's complicated, perplexing relationship with nature."

David Kroll, who received his MFA from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986, has exhibited widely throughout the country and is in many important public and private collections.

This is the artist's twelfth solo exhibition at Littlejohn Contemporary

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