The closing reception of Paul Zepeda‘s “Fresh Off the Easel” solo exhibition, held at Dougherty Gallery in Long Island City, NYC, showed more than 30 original works. These included previously made paintings, as well as new works made specifically for the show. The event was held at the Crescent Grill, a trendy bar and restaurant where Zepeda’s art covered every wall.
The feeling was casual and conversational. I spoke with Zepeda, who gave me some insight into the ideas behind some of his works. He often includes a fish bowl in his paintings, which he explained represents the crowded spaces city dwellers put themselves in on a daily basis. No one realizes how cramped the bowl they live in feels, because they are simply used to it. Fish don’t get to pick what size their bowl is, but people choose to live in the city; sometimes space must be sacrificed to live in a popular area.
Zepeda’s style is a simplified interpretation of cubism. He often focuses on one object or a specific scene, leaving the remainder of the canvas to color and shadow, represented in hard jagged lines. The mix of oil paint with gold leaf is lavish yet unordinary, as well as the use of mixed media collage and interesting compositions.
Groups of artists residing in Long Island City have been making art and showing at local galleries for years, and Dougherty Gallery focuses on continuing to exhibit local artists. The community doesn’t want to sell out: they want to keep creating.