C3 and Aron Meynell recently opened a duel show at Shooting Gallery, SF to a strong response. The graphite works by both artists highlight their eye for detail and composition.

Before the Sun Dies, Part 1 “Tempest Horizon” is a look into the darkly captivating world C3 has brought to life through his delicately detailed works. Acting as the first part in a trilogy, Before the Sun Dies builds upon the introduction C3’s previous shows In Search of New Land and 777 had introduced. Inspired by old Westerns and the Wizard of Oz, the show embodies a film sensibility, with many of the smaller pieces set up like stills one might see used to introduce the main characters in a movie. It’s a fitting design for a concept that will only completely unfold further in the future.

C3’s tightly executed graphite drawings capture the ghostly quality of antique portraits, with beautiful features and an elegant surface. Visages are captured with a sensitivity that highlights the fear and anxiety of looking out into harsh and sometimes bleak world. Throughout the body of work we’re only allowed glimpses of the dusty interiors and open plains the people in these portraits inhabit, but even in these small patches there is the feeling of a lawless wilderness seeping in. The drawings, both modeled from life figures and old photographs, seem not of our time yet strangely familiar- almost recognizable; snapshots of a land alternatively soothed and torn by unknown forces, divided in ways we can’t quite guess.

With a peaceful poeticism, “…Sleep…” lays bare a world that exists without ornamentation or narrative. As if whisking us to a place removed from time, Meynell’s drawings capture a moment of perfect stillness. Many of the compositions focus on the delicate body of a bird, placed centrally in smooth foregrounds that give no hint of actual location. Removed from natural habitats, with graceful wings at off kilter angles, these figures’ vulnerability and beauty are magnified.

Working in greyscale, Meynell arranges his subjects carefully, with an impressive eye for small details. Meynell’s work is infused with a calm that is bordered by unease; it is like looking at the silver reflection of a placid lake, knowing that the slightest motion will break the surface. In “Sunk,” the profile of a man with eyes closed is given its eerie, dreamlike quality by the soft slope the subject’s forehead has taken inward, seemingly dissolved as naturally as a sandcastle too close to shore.

– Warholian with photos by Michael Cuffe

For more on Shooting Gallery or “Before the Sun Dies” or “Sleep” visit: http://www.ShootingGallerySF.com

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