TREY ABDELLA | GROWING PAINS

25 SEPTEMBER – 18 OCTOBER 2020 
ST. AGNES | CHAPEL

An angry child, sad teenager, an abandoned lover, and cute dogs, are Abdella's protagonists. He brings fits of rage from positively miserable tales about the pains of coming of age and bad days to the canvas. A boy mutates into a werewolf and squirts glue all over his desk, unable to control his fury at the world. In the pocket of his jeans is a note, written overconfidently for a girl to fill out. “Do you like me?”, he wants to find out, and is certain he already knows the answer. There are two options to choose from: Yes. Definitely. The box “never”, that was added to the note, is checked. Pain and suffering triggered by rejection, uncertainty, and death torment Abdella's heroes, who seek certainty, protection, and comfort. But going to a fortune teller only leads to a vague prediction of the future: New doors will open. Life will end tragically.

In GROWING PAINS Abdella explores the shortcomings of the human condition whilst maxing out his chosen medium of painting. “When someone sees my work, I want them to feel like they have just won a stuffed animal from their third attempt at a claw machine,” Abdella says. He works with acrylic paint, airbrush, materials, and textures, melding the analog with the dialogue as he uses digital tools and analog objects. He applies fake leaves and beads, wigs and strings, fabrics, and jeans to the canvas. He merges assemblage with painting, and hyper-realism with cartoons. His paintings are oversaturated with influences and references from art history and pop culture of the past century. “Cutting You Off”, for example, reproduces one of the key scenes from the 1992 film “Death Suits You” with Meryl Streep in the lead role. And in "Sunny Days" Andie and Blane, the unequal couple from the teenage romance "Pretty in Pink" (1986), lie in each other's arms in mourning. Abdella appropriates film scenes and processes them in his coming-of-age story, which begins with happy childhood days and ends with the death of a loved one.

Painting in the post-digital age becomes a mashup in Abdella’s work, a collage of film quotes, cartoon characters, and consumer goods. He celebrates the remix culture of the internet in his pictures.

© Images Roman März