Thinkspace is pleased to present new paintings and works on paper by Rodrigo Luff in Afterglow, the artist’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery to date. Luff’s personally inflected figurative works blend realism and fantasy, recombining the edges of the probable with the incandescence of daydream. Expressing the imagined and impossible through the contours of a physically plausible world, Luff stages ambiguous borders between the spiritual and material, allowing the internal and emotive external expression through nature. This tension between the manifest and invisible haunts Luff’s intensely contrasting and vibrantly hued imagery, while a state of perpetual atmospheric dusk hosts these ghostly apparitions, both human and animal, hemmed by the fiction of otherworldly light. With edges cast in acidic, dayglow gleam, Luff levitates their edges in buoyant, fluorescent halos.
Luff’s fluorescent fairytales feature dryadic women surrounded by woodland creatures, mystic owls, and sentient birds; their powerful animateness and knowing conveyed through the chiaroscuro intensity of the work – as though the imagery itself is emanating from some ultimate interior. The light feels immaterial and increasingly hallucinatory as the works seem to burst forth from beneath. Through dynamic compositions that seem within moments of action and revelation, the artist keeps the viewer suspended in this trance of potential. With dreamy scenarios and suggestive harmonizations – the artist has often likened his process to musical composition in its balance of individual parts unified cohesively in the impression of the whole – this Narnian world powerfully channels metaphor and the stirrings of spiritual transcendence.
Luff is inspired by diverse influences, which he has synthesized into his unique aesthetic. Everything from the anime master Miyazaki and the romance of the Pre Raphaelites and their oil glazing techniques, to the otherworldly cast and contrast of the aurora borealis and the ornate art nouveau stylization of Alphonse Mucha, are cited among Luff’s sources. He has taken these inspirations and combined them into a romantically modern universe with moments of dissonance, sorrow, melancholy, and transportive nostalgia.