Doron Langberg: Nothing Personal
Exhibition Dates: March 4 – April 22, 2018
Exhibition Opening: Sunday, March 4 @ 6 - 8 PM
1969 Gallery presents Nothing Personal, Brooklyn-based painter Doron Langberg’s first solo exhibition in New York. Named after James Baldwin’s 1964 essay, Nothing Personal is a series of intimate portraits of Langberg's friends, family, and lovers in everyday settings.
Working from observation, Langberg creates a visual language of marks, colors, and textures that oscillate between inventive descriptions of familiar spaces and objects, and mercurial atmospheres and figures. The interiors depicted are often from his own apartment and the objects have been lived with over time. The settings anchor the paintings as Langberg's brushwork and surfaces narrate particular moods and affections. Faces, hands and dicks are loosely described and dissolve into the paintings’ color-world, whereas objects like a Coogi sweater or a Cleveland Cavaliers t-shirt are loud and concrete.
In Morning 1, Langberg paints a sleeping figure in the early morning hours, before, as Langberg puts it, anything has a color. Here is where closeness is: before color is determined, before objects have taken on their daily forms, still changing with the rising sun. Desire and tenderness lie under the blankets, rendered free like light or air. Faces, such as the artist’s nieces’ in Gil or Liran, indicate the light surrounding them.
In his essay, Baldwin indicts American culture, where compassion is excess baggage and prejudice guides action. To Baldwin, personal stories are indicative of their surrounding political structure, suggesting that the only way to overcome indifference is through “love strong enough to guide or drive one into the great estate of maturity, or, to put it another way, into the apprehension and acceptance of one’s own identity.”
This love is, of course, love between people, but it is also the love created by the tenderness and specificity of Baldwin’s descriptions. The idea that depicting someone with enough care reveals the interiority of both subject and artist is the principal premise of Langberg’s practice.
Langberg writes: “I focus on love and desire in my work because they are fundamental human experiences but, being queer, they are also what mark me as different.” In the freedom allowed in painting, Langberg summons the compassion out from exile, creating spaces where difference can be overcome by empathy.
Doron Langberg (b. 1985, Yokneam Moshava, Israel) has exhibited widely. 2017 exhibitions include Found, at the Leslie Lohman Museum in New York, NY, Close Quarters and Elizabeth Glaessner + Doron Langberg, both at 1969 Gallery, in New York, NY. He is a participant of Queering Space, an ongoing project first exhibited at the Green Gallery at Yale University in New Haven, in 2016 and most recently exhibited at the Fosdick-Nelson Gallery at Alfred University, in Alfred NY in 2018. He is the recipient of numerous residencies including Sharpe- Walentas Studio Program in Brooklyn NY, the 68 Projects residency in Berlin (both in 2017), and the Yaddo Artist Residency in 2016. In 2015 he was a finalist for the NYFA painting Fellowship. He received his BFA from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, and his MFA from Yale University in 2012.