Paul Gagner: A Beginner's Guide to Home Lobotomy

December 12, 2015 through February 6, 2016

Open Reception: Saturday December 12, 2015 7pm-10pm

Closing Reception and Discussion: February 6, 2016 2pm-4pm


Guest Spot @ The REINSTITUTE is pleased to announce the solo exhibition A Beginner's Guide to Home Lobotomy, by Brooklyn-based artist Paul Gagner. The exhibition will open on Saturday, December 12, 2015 and will be on view through Saturday February 6, 2016. The Opening Reception will take place on Saturday, December 12, 2015 from 7pm-10pm. The opening will coincide with Guest Spot’s holiday celebration, with a special evening of cocktails and light fare. 


Modernism, the great purveyor of abstraction, has been the leading benefactor of framing the contextaround representationalism as a mere arbitrary system.  Paul Gagner's paintings illustrate the tension between the modern impetus to abstraction and the resistance to direct representation, while addressing the systematic approach of authoritative critique.  The artist's psyche is culled from many directions,  usually resulting in a path in tandem with either school: representation or abstraction. Gagner’s ability to work between these distinct contradictions is a sign that the justifying rhetoric of modern intentions may have more to do with an authoritative bias against representationalism rather than relational analytics of the works themselves. 


Paul Gagner’s exhibition,  A Beginner's Guide to Home Lobotomy, encapsulates the sublime relationship between art and suffering through a whimsical narrative that outlines a fate that is all too common for artists: the self-fulfilling prophecy.  The neurotic persona attributed to artists is revealed through Gagner’s disposition towards his personal estranged relationship with abstraction, which he demonstrates through a psychoanalytic perspective.  Like most artistic personas, heroism has been attributed to some sort of societal ill or conflict.  Gagner’s Dr. Howard Moseley, M.D. book cover paintings reflect the self-help franchise that foreshadowed the rapid decline of the middle class. The series of works serves as satiric analysis for vetting artists and their societal neuroses. While,  Gagner’s relationship with Dr. Moseley can be compared to necromancy, their co-dependency is intertwined beyond an earthly bond, brought together by irony and lunacy. The relationship between art and self-affliction are historic wounds that are expressed in paint,  the magnificent forms resemble the weight of seriousness that percolates behind abstraction today.  Just as irony and satire run through the veins of the human condition, an authoritative bias clogs the arteries. 


Paul Gagner was born in 1976 in rural Wisconsin. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in 2005, and his MFA from Brooklyn College in 2009. He has exhibited throughout the US including the Sheila & Richard Riggs Leidy Galleries at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Housatonic Museum of Art and the Richmond Center for Visual Arts. In 2009, Gagner has four collages included in the Museum of Modern Art's print collection. Paul Gagner lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.