Jenny Smick on Steve Negron's work
at She-Bear Gallery, October 7 to November 26, 2016 – Portland, ME
October is the perfect month to contemplate Steve Negrón’s excellent paintings – with their moons and black cats and stiped leggings. Populated with characters as compelling as the intricate pattern work behind them, Steve’s acrylic paintings capture a soul-baring we associate with the protective cloak of nighttime. It is no surprise that most of the scenes his work depicts occur in the mysterious dusk of day’s end.
An educator and award-winning artist, Steve paints with a skill that accompanies a highly developed sense of style. Each painting boasts some kind of captivating plot, complemented by inventive and facetious titles, such as ‘coco warned dolly not to swim so soon after eating’.
Steve’s narrow, angular figures occupy enchanted, fountain-spouting courtyards, luminous twilight pools; and spiny, spooky gardens. But for all that might be uncanny about them, there’s a something tender and relatable in these paintings. Moonlit, exposed, the scenes share their furtive secrets with the viewer. The pink and purple tint that sometimes surrounds a figure’s eyes is touching, familiar.
This body of work also features that rare artistic find – the male nude.
I mention this with some hesitation because it feels unfair to focus on the nudity in Steve Negrón’s awesome, eerie, soulful paintings – they are so much more than that. (That, and I feel like a five year-old, reacting, ‘Look – wieners!) But I do want to praise Steve for representing the underrepresented (see my recent newsletter on the neglected male nude) and for doing so with such a whimsical and wonderful aesthetic.
In his own words, Steve’s paintings express ‘desires, fears, mischievous intentions.’ Come to the She-Bear Gallery and check out the delightful curiosities that are Steve Negrón’s paintings. They will beckon you to peek into their quirky narratives like a curious Halloween cat.
Jenny Smick, Owner, She-Bear Gallery