Jānis Avotiņš, Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 17 1/4 × 17 1/4".

Jānis Avotiņš

Galerie Vera Munro

Jānis Avotiņš, Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 17 1/4 × 17 1/4".

Jānis Avotiņš’s paintings seem intangible, like the mental images that embody cherished memories, and yet their beholder experiences them with epiphanic immediacy. The Latvian artist’s most recent exhibition presented portraits and figure works, mostly paintings in small to medium formats; three highly subtle drawings enhanced the show. While much of his earlier work featured landscapes, which unfolded around his protagonists as a spacious stage, this element has disappeared from these more recent pieces, or contracted into a mere horizon—the barest definition of space conceivable. Whether a figure has emerged from an interior or a natural scene can be almost impossible to tell—the distinction between inside and outside has collapsed into virtually complete abstraction. These nebulous settings emphasize the otherworldliness of the figures, who appear almost as hallucinatory

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