Michael Alvarez

We're Out Here

Feb 15 — Mar 17, 2018
New York, Downtown

Marlborough pleased to present We’re Out Here, an exhibition of new paintings by Michael Alvarez and the artist’s first exhibition in New York.

Taking inspiration from his immediate surroundings in the domestic sphere, at work in alternative education high schools and Juvenile Detention Centers, and the city at large, Alvarez creates a compound narrative of life as lived in the complex sprawl of his native Los Angeles. From the glitz and dashed hopes of Hollywood Boulevard to the backyard barbeque we begin to see through carefully constructed surfaces, revealing a tender humanity.

Also depicted are more marginal and thornier hybrid sites. Concrete drainage ditches, that double as skateboarding spots and broad canvasses for graffiti murals, are also host to homeless encampments, presenting a friction between an ascendant and hopeful lawlessness and the desperation of pure survival. Similarly, the eponymous painting We’re Out Here, which was created in collaboration with his incarcerated students (Alvarez’s portraits are interspersed with students’ original artworks) underscores the fine line and expanding gulf between opportunity and a dead-end existence.

Technically, Alvarez mixes a matter-of-fact style with dashes of magical realism. Exhibiting a keen understanding of photo-specific technique, figures blur and ghost across the images suggesting movement through time and space in a static image. Appropriately, snapshot source material ranges from the posed semi-formality of the family portrait to the yearbook-candid playfulness of his students. These images are collaged or cleverly composited into painted scenes that are invested with a warmth, humor and realism that supersedes mere depiction.

Works

Alvarez, hollywood highland, 2017, oil, spray paint, graphite on panel, 72 x 84 in., 182.9 x 213.4 cm, cnon 59.811
Hollywood / Highland, 2017, oil, spray paint, graphite on panel, 72 × 84 in., 182.9 × 213.4 cm
Alvarez, we're out here, 2018, oil, spray paint, graphite on panel, 60 x 48 in., 152.4 x 121.9 cm, cnon 59.823
We're Out Here, 2018, oil, spray paint, graphite on panel, 60 × 48 in., 152.4 × 121.9 cm
Alvarez, instabirth, 2015, mixed media on panel, 33 x 25 in., 83.8 x 63.5 cm, cnon 59.815
Instabirth, 2015, mixed media on panel, 33 × 25 in., 83.8 × 63.5 cm
Alvarez, neighborhood watch, 2012, mixed media on panel, 72 x 96 in., 182.9 x 243.8 cm, cnon 59.820
Neighborhood Watch, 2012, mixed media on panel, 72 × 96 in., 182.9 × 243.8 cm
Alvarez, take a hike, 2014, oil, spray paint, pencil on panel, 80 x 97 in., 203.2 x 246.4 cm, cnon 59.812
Take a Hike, 2014, oil, spray paint, pencil on panel, 80 × 97 in., 203.2 × 246.4 cm
Alvarez, wasteland paradise, 2018, oil, spray paint, graphite on panel, 72 x 61 in., 182,9 x 154.9 cm, cnon 59.821
Wasteland Paradise, 2018, oil, spray paint, graphite on panel, 72 × 61 in., 182.9 × 154.9 cm
Michael alvarez. we're out here. marlborough contemporary new york installation view 10
Installation View.
Alvarez, nana and the big dogs, 2017, oil, spray paint and graphite on canvas, 39 x 59 in., 99.06 x 149.86 cm, cnon 59.813
Nana and the Big Dogs, 2017, oil, spray paint, graphite on canvas, 39 × 60 in., 99.1 × 152.4 cm