Nathaniel Rogers, The King is Dead, 2011, oil on panel, 40 x 32 inches
We say 'yes' with three concurrent solo exhibitions of new paintings by Erik Thor Sandberg, Nathaniel Rogers and Katie Miller. Six centuries after Flemish oil painting branded the early modern age, each of these DC area painters maximizes his or her command of the realist technique to express the human condition in contemporary life.
NATHANIEL ROGERS presents vivid analogies of human phenomena surrounding the concept of crisis - how we create it, deal with it, or ignore it - in When Disaster Strikes, his second solo exhibition with the gallery. Rogers' superior draftsman's skill is perfectly matched to his sharp wit in this series of intimate panel paintings that reveal coping strategies, or lack thereof, in the automated, indulgent contemporary world. The artist postulates extreme life situations that manifest at intersections and dissonances between behavior and virtual reality. In scenes of real and imagined disasters, including floods, fires and unseen threats, Rogers suggests a breakdown in reality. This theme is expressed most noticeably in the anxiety contained in his narratives, and more subtly in the dissolution of the representational fabric of his pictures. We find a section of the interior depicted in Facing Annihilation unexpectedly sanded down to reveal the bare wood of its support; and a slice of the landscape background in Nailed, appears to peel off, an illusion that underscores the artifice of the picture. As Rogers characterizes contemporary states of mind, he also tests his medium's ability to convey the immediacy of our experiences.