Dicey Fabulous Carnival is the new exhibit of paintings by New York-based artist Jeni Spota C., currently at Brennan and Griffin Gallery (Bowery), and it sees her furthering an investigation into magical imagery and generous materiality.

Thickly piped with designs of subdued harlequin colors, these paintings evoke banners and Maestà altarpieces, teaming with faces, symbols, and decorative forms. The paint itself, almost an inch thick in some parts, rises off the canvases and puts the entire carnival of the artist’s world into shallow relief.

The image of a woman and child, Virgin Mary or mother goddess, dominates the center of every work, surrounded by processions of admirers. The actors on this stage are not plucked from the walls of a Renaissance cathedral, however; they are handled with peculiar details like striped leggings, patterned sweaters, and what seem to be blue jeans.

While most artists struggle to reconcile the many qualities of paint, Spota C. has found a way of balancing them all. Her works both confront the material itself while as the same time embracing the mythic, story-telling abilities of the medium. It is a difficult balance that few painters take on but which Spota C. has down pat. (Alessandro Keegan)

See Dicey Fabulous Carnival through February 14, 2016.

(All images photographed by the author)

Detail of "Venetian Victory" (2015), 36" x 42", oil on canvas

Detail of “Venetian Victory” (2015), 36″ x 42″, oil on canvas

"Moonlit Maestá" (2015), 24" x 30", oil on canvas

“Moonlit Maestá” (2015), 24″ x 30″, oil on canvas