November 3 – December 20, 2018
Opening Reception: November 3, 5-8 pm
Ever Gold [Projects] is pleased to present Drinking Games, a solo exhibition featuring new work by Los Angeles based painter Joey Wolf. Working in charcoal, watercolor, and sculpturally thick oil paint, Wolf produces careful studies of his group of friends, depicted at leisure and in celebratory moments, rendering these weekend activities at a scale and in a style typically reserved for a more dramatic subject or form of action. Wolf’s elevation of everyday moments and distinctly contemporary objects and activities challenges conventions of what subjects deserve to be featured in artworks of a certain scale and formal seriousness.
In Drinking Games, Wolf chronicles four different scenes: an annual trip to Park City with friends for the Sundance Film Festival, a house party in San Francisco, a shared birthday party for three close friends, and a solitary moment with the artist in his studio. Wolf’s paintings unapologetically portray a specific personal culture, and project at a grand scale this rather inwardly facing category of subject matter. Wolf paints what he knows, taking photographs on his outings and trips with friends and using these images to compose his drawings and paintings. Often using a combination of multiple photographs in his construction of a scene, Wolf develops environments that feel open and spacious despite depicting arguably private moments between individuals known well by the artist and not at all by the average viewer.
Wolf’s scenes might remind the viewer of the history of genre painting, in that while they depict specific individuals, they do not really function as portraiture—instead, they are representations of environments and the behaviors of people within those spaces. Wolf’s treatment of elements within a scene is evenhanded, with a pack of cigarettes receiving the same attention to detail as a person’s expression. The careful manner in which Wolf renders an environment and its contents results from a desire to preserve memory, rather than from an instructive impulse. To apply another historical framework to the work, one might consider Wolf a kind of court painter, as his depictions of leisure focus on a specific group of people and their closeness of their ties despite utilizing untraditional means in their presentation. Wolf’s friends and their activities are made grander both through their formal treatment and Wolf’s rich impasto, as well as through their casting as characters in scenes of affluence reimagined for a contemporary audience—a prosperity less dependent on material goods and more on fleeting experiences of pleasure.
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Joey Wolf (b. 1987, Newport Beach, CA) is an artist based in Los Angeles. Wolf graduated from Otis College of Art and Design (BFA, Fine Art) in 2010. Recent exhibitions include the artist's first solo exhibition, Weekends, at Depart Foundation (Los Angeles, CA, 2018); Look at Us at GNYP Gallery (Berlin, 2017); and After Eden at MuzeuMM (Los Angeles, 2015). His work is included in the collection at International Creative Management as well as several private collections.