Figure and Form

Mark Beard, Chad Kleitsch, Bruce Murphy, and James O'Shea

February 9, 2022 through April 3, 2022

Carrie Haddad Gallery is pleased to present “Figure and Form”, an exhibit that includes figurative paintings by Mark Beard, non-representational painting by James O’Shea and Bruce Murphy, and photography by Chad Kleitsch. The exhibit opens Saturday, February 12th and will remain on view through April 3rd. The opening reception has been suspended due to Covid-19, but is open to the public daily from 11-5pm (except closed on Tuesdays).

James O’Shea’s deeply pigmented abstractions are grounded in the landscape. Taking his cues from the bare winter months in the Northeast when the horizon is stripped of its foliage, he suggests that “So much of life’s structure reveals itself when it goes into hibernation”. The architecture in O’Shea’s compositions takes form with expressive gestures using brushes loaded with oil paint. Large swaths of earthy tones – teals, blues, greens, and brick red - are bordered by a muscular yet nimble line. This year’s exhibit will also debut a series of portraits of commuters on NYC transit. O’Shea’s signature palette is echoed in these close cropped studies of strangers that are nothing short of intriguing. James O’Shea was born in Buffalo, NY and studied in London at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He also attended Goldsmith’s College and the University of London where he majored in printmaking. Since moving to New York City in 1975, O’Shea continues to experiment with different media, but works mostly in oil and encaustics. Today, he spends his time between Barrytown, NY and Manhattan.

In a new series of paintings by Bruce Murphy one experiences constantly shifting patterns of energies that capture the ineffable sensation of an infinite void. Murphy loves color, particularly subtle shades of pastel that shimmer in changing light. Metallic powders give golden and silver highlights to intuitive mark markings that move across an ethereal field of color. While non-representational in subject, his work is rooted in the sublime influences of nature and have titles that suggest existential musings. A native of Texas, Bruce Murphy obtained a BFA in painting from the Parson’s School of Design in New York City. After a long career in graphic design, he now lives in Rhinecliff, NY and devotes himself full time to his art.

Photographer Chad Kleitsch embarked on the extensive photo essay called “Botanical Mind” exactly 20 years ago. Kleitsch was at the forefront of experimentation with flatbed scanners as this technology became more widely available and affordable in the late 90’s. The collection and documentation of hundreds of blossoms became his focus using this new approach. He produced a series where deeply hued petals animate against an opaque, velvety, black background. Alternately, the series of white background flowers coax transparency and luminosity, exposing the fragile vulnerability of each stem. The artist makes all of his own prints on a large format, Epson inkjet printer on matte 100% cotton rag Hahnemuhle paper. Originally from New Jersey, Kleitsch earned his BA in Photograph from Bard College in 1991 and currently keeps his studio in Rhinecliff, NY.

Over a decade ago, Mark Beard was tasked with commissioning one of the world’s largest murals, not once, but six times over in six locations for the Ohio based retailer, Abercrombie and Fitch. Beard was chosen for his idealization of ‘perfect manhood’ as depicted in the arenas of both athleticism and demeanor. Beard’s signature “bravura” style of brushwork references his main hero, John Singer Sargent, while the artist also cites Thomas Eatkins and Diego Velazquez as influences. This critical juxtaposition of his paintings with pop culture fashion in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, Milan, London, Tokyo and Paris gained Beard new recognition in a career that largely began in set design for European theater and opera. “The Abercrombie & Fitch commissions are an especially ingenious use of his talent, as Mark paints in a style of the 1920s and ‘30s we were once quite familiar with – look at the lobbies in Rockefeller Center – where humble humanity is shown in a heroic scale,” said Ashton Hawkins to the Baltimore Sun, a lawyer and board member of the MET in NYC. “Yet, Mark makes it palatable to the modern sensibility, because there’s a sly element of camp to it.” This exhibit will feature selections from the original mural painted for the flagship store in Paris, as well as smaller paintings completed more recently in his studio. Mark Beard was born in Salt Lake City, Utah and studied art at the University of Utah and drawing at the Grand Chaumiere in Paris, France. He currently divides his time between Paris and New York City, where he has lived since 1980 and keeps a loft and studio in Hell’s Kitchen.

Chad Kleitsch

Bruce Murphy

James O'Shea

Mark Beard