If at First You Don’t Succeed
October 26 - November 24, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, October 26, 6:00–9:00pm
Coldstream Fine Art is pleased to present If at First You Don’t Succeed, a new series of paintings by Izaak Sacrebleu and the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Drawing from the aesthetics and nuances of gambling, Sacrebleu performs a wholesale interrogation of the “game”, discerning in its stakes a symbolic relevance to all human endeavour (major and minor alike). Sacrebleu underlays easily recognizable references to particular games with subtle nods to the rules, spoken and unspoken, that define their parameters. In doing so, he strips away the inherent inauthenticity of the casino environment in order to discover the patterns of unfiltered humanity that course through it.
As in much of the artist’s earlier work, gesture plays a central role in the project. Faces are left unrendered, revealing the sheer expressive potential of pose and referencing, through absence, the obscured, unwavering expressions of gambling aficionados. Disembodied hands send ambiguous signals that are nevertheless charged with information and emotion—a visual chorus of bets, folds, hits and stays, as well as the joy of victory and pain of defeat. In the titular painting, a diverse panoply of hands forms a repeating pattern, capturing in two dimensions the anonymous procession of gamblers that, ad infinitum, fills the tables, performs similar gestures and utters the same clichés. Rather than mire in alienation, however, we can see this as a ground of shared experience in a polarized age.
This series also represents a continuing evolution in Sacrebleu’s technique, most noticeably a movement away from a highly textural style into one that is cleaner and more intentional. Seamless gradients, recurring graphics and decontextualized patterns allude to digital modes of production, but a clear painterly sensibility defines the compositions and the blocked shading of their constituent parts. The formal aspects of the work corroborate its deliberate nature, representing Sacrebleu’s progression into an obsessively detail-oriented, overwhelmingly time-intensive artistic method. Despite this shift towards the analytic, If at First You Don’t Succeed contains some of the artist’s most incisive, evocative and unrestrained work to date.