Ashley Flynn’s free-for-all installation of paintings and drawings and murals at Knapp Gallery all flow into into each other, art without borders. The painting in Flynn’s first exhibit, Forgiven (it’s not their fault), is free, exuberant and sure of itself.
Flynn is one of those artists whose impulse to make marks comes straight out of her fingertips and her soul and touches everything in sight. The gallery, to its credit under the direction of Knapp’s new gallerist Karl Slocum, allowed her to paint and draw on the walls and let her have at it. In fact, there was a two-week lull between the previous exhibit and the next, and lucky for Knapp, Slocum squeezed her in. Lucky for us too.
That means that much of this exhibit–the extensions of the paintings onto the walls, and the links between the drawings–is ephemeral, the paint, spray paint and charcoal along with the layering and interweaving of drawings and poems there for but three more days.
Flynn clearly has some major emotional obsessions driving her work. Odd families, animals and rapists are part of the circus of life among the humans. The result is X-rated and grotesque, with blow jobs, ejaculations, penetrations, birth, copulation and death. The energetic style has a little of George Grosz, a little DeKooning, just for starters..
The images burst at the seams, too explosive to behave inside the usual rectangle and on the single sheet of paper. Some of the layers break the frame, others the surface. Flynn also writes poetry related to the narratives in the paintings and drawings.
I recognized the images from her senior thesis exhibit at Moore College. They reminded me of Judith Schaechter a little. In the show at Knapp, Flynn has taken everything to the next level. Next to it, the thesis work looks relatively academic and proper. But here she shows with panache that she is not safe and she is not predictable. In fact, she’s pretty wild!
This inaugural exhibit of Flynn’s post-college career is not to be missed. Alas, you have only until Sunday to get there.