Action painter Trey Egan channels personal emotion and the pain of creative or financial frustrations, amplified by super loud electronic music, to produce multi-layered oil paintings of non-objective physicality in his "Signal Chamber" exhibit at McMurtrey Gallery.
Egan has an uncanny ability to portray depth, with his layering process of earlier stages of flatter, natural tones, followed by later stages of spot-putted saturated colors. He is fascinated by the mechanics of music production, likening his work to the stacking of similar elements to achieve a more powerful outcome. There is a busy-ness to his works, a continuity of his pre-2011 crowds of people, but he has since realized that the subject matter is less important than the energy and controlled chaos of thoughtfully placed shapes and color.
This gift, to suppress the conscious and rely on the subconscious to direct his work, has resulted in the recognition that a person only has to understand the next step to make the right decision at the right time. Drawing inspiration from two colors, or a symbol, he will listen to the signals he gets within the privacy of his own studio, emerging from the fog with the force of a freight train.
Worlds Apart; Days Turn Into Night is a dark, somber piece of blacks and blues, evoking the feeling of angry red warring entities. Blood has been spilt, and there is collateral damage as pieces break away amid the hopelessness of irreconciliation.
More cheerful in tone, Clairvoyant; Under My Skin features the cool, minty green tones of springtime, light and bright with whites and sunlit yellow. Small pops of red and orange are newly awakened flowers, with the promise of abundant summer growth.
Large color swatches (a favorite inspiration of Egan's) are evident in Hot Since 79', offering an appealing respite for the eyes. Resting on rotating billowy clouds, the piece actually radiates coolness, in spite of its hot brick and cherry reds.
One can almost see birds, teeth, wrecked automobiles, rock formations and more at the center of Maya Levels, a whirling, circulating vortex of color bordered by dimensional black, and supervised by a muted all-knowing mass.
Glimpse growing self-awareness in the pre-existence of a corporeal form, as the mind fires pulses in tones of burnt umber and cherry reds and violets in Awaken Into Consciousness. The energy dances off the canvas, pulling away from the embryonic multi-dimensionality of protoplanetary dust.
There is something here for all fans of abstract expressionism; on the cooler end are the ethereal pale pink forms of Ghost Transmission, the icy whites of a winter storm in All I Wanted was to Stay and Dream, and the dancing peaks and valleys of geometric prisms in Naturally Aspired, Traveling Within.
Saturated, powerful color is abundant in Ambient Response, Surface Ascension, rife with objects ready for interpretation; and the nature-inspired Wanderers of the Whirl resembles a tidal wave of flora and fauna swirling into the cyclonic birth of a forming planet. Signal Chamber continues through February 14, at McMurtrey Gallery, 3508 Lake St., open Tuesday to Friday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Saturdays 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., 713.523.8238, mcmurtreygallery.com.
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