When he moved to Los Angeles in 2017 Victor Atkins was amazed by the light. Formerly based in Philadelphia, the daily clear blue sky and bright sunshine were stark contrasts to the mercurial seasons in Pennsylvania. This new experience would become his Blue Sky Series, on view now at Mash Gallery in Los Angeles. Atkins perceived a surreal quality in the environment and began to explore. The lines, color blocks, and shapes unfold into a journey through layers of perception. “I wanted to address that perhaps the beauty here was a metaphor for a greater beauty,” he says. “The question that burns in me is, ‘Is this beauty a resting place or is it merely a temporal illusion? And if so, how do I explore the infinite, or perhaps, the eternal?’”
The series began as a conversation with Los Angeles. Atkins was internalizing these powerful, new experiences – the beauty and spaciousness of the environment, the anxious energy of those infamous highways. He expected to create visual monologues between himself and LA. Instead, he would find himself launched into a deep dive into questions of reality and spiritual dimensions. The series begins with expressions of light that capture the pure, bright hues found in the environment. Slowly, the artist challenges these images, unraveling their true dreaminess with the suggestion of something beyond their plane.
“In Blue Sky Five I wanted to break into the linear structure of the previous paintings in this series and introduce shapes that suggest another level of perceived reality. This was somewhat of a breakthrough for me, but I wanted to go further. I wanted to ‘punch a visual hole in the story’ and introduce a metaphor for the eternal. I began to use the brilliant blue that spoke more generically to a place of peace into confined shapes that suggest a dimension beyond.
The remaining paintings continue to explore the potentials of implied dimension, space, color, line gestures and shapes that defy visual expectations and create illusion and tension between the obvious and the mystery of hidden truth.”
The Blue Sky Series is intense on all levels, a high-impact expression of ideas told with visual force. As with all of his work, Atkins cites each painting as a visual representation of his testimony in that place and time. View these works now at Mash Gallery as a part of the diverse À GOGO exhibition until March 20th: 1325 Palmetto Street, Los Angeles, 90013.
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