McHargue's artist statement (which echoes some of the ardor expressed by the English duo of Nick Relph and Oliver Payne) is short, to the point, and says a lot about how he makes his work and the way he sees the world: "When I make the things that I make, my head clears and all I can see are my own ideas taking shape." "I need this!" he writes, and implores viewers to "stay positive and enjoy every second of their fucking lives," adding, "You are just as much a part of this whole thing as I am."
McHargue's paintings and drawings are intense and intensely graphic. As with Adolf Wölfli's jam-packed art, McHargue's can take some getting used to. Initially, the way he seems to repeat images and the teeming ornamentation of some of his drawings (which have more space and physicality than his paintings at this point) is daunting. But McHargue's work can pull you into a luxuriant, primal realm.
photo: Robin Holland
A wickedly twisted subversive streak: de Balincourt's Flood Piece (foreground, 2003), Treehouse (2002), and various paintings at LFL
Jules de Balincourt LFL Gallery 530 West 24th Street
Through June 14
Keegan McHargue Rivington Arms
102 Rivington Street
Through June 22
McHargue and de Balincourt have a lot to learn. Both are just starting out, especially McHargue, who nevertheless feels like a homegrown Francesco Clemente by way of the early, awkward David Hockney. Yet each artist plainly has a vision and talent to burn.