Chambers Fine Art in Chelsea is currently presenting a collection of oil paintings by an artist known as GAMA for the show Idylls of the Kings. The works in this show are quite imaginative as many of them feature animals, manikins and other characters, and also plenty of mushrooms. For instance, the piece Losung (Denouement) depicts a fight between two warriors riding on horses, one black and the other white, shown going head to head as they battle conflicting feelings of hostility and attraction toward each other. GAMA captures the intensity and truly makes the scene seem real as he illustrates the back of the black horse’s body obscured from behind the green curtain that he’s jumping out from. Meanwhile, the back of the white horse’s body blends into the lavender color of the warrior’s cape.
GAMA references Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale The Princess and the Pea with the piece Gemach II (Chamber II) illustrating a stack of colorful mattress stack one on top of the other. The top mattress appears to have a mountain of dirt rising from it where mushrooms are growing, and some dirt with mushrooms can be seen coming from the sides of the other mattresses as well. A figure resembling a small, stuffed doll is balancing at the edge of the top mattress as she holds a bottle of liquor in her hand.
Another intriguing piece titled Waldbuhne: Scene in the Woods combines indoor and outdoor settings with bedroom fixtures such as a dresser, a lamp, a table, two windows, and a rack for hats and scarves. There are also tree branches as well as a dirt floor with mushrooms growing. Also, in some of the paintings, you’ll see that the main image does not fully extend to the edge of the canvas to convey the notion that an oil painting is simply oil applied to a canvas that was once blank.
GAMA also pays homage to many of the great Old Master and 19th century German Romanticism paintings. For example, Havarie (Ocean Flame) is modeled after Caspar David Friedrich’s 1824 masterpiece, The Sea of Ice depicting a shipwreck in the middle of a broken ice sheet with pointy shards piling up in the middle. GAMA’s version is nearly an exact replica of his idol’s but also features a small house far out in the distance, burning down.
GAMA was born in Mongolia and lives and works in Berlin. He was raised in a traditional nomadic family, where he and his parents would move every four months as the seasons changed. He was inspired by his great aunt who was a shaman, as he was fascinated by her ability to connect with the supernatural world. He studied oil painting at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing before moving to Germany to attend the Karlsruhe Academy where he was exposed to the figurative painting of New Leipzig School and began studying the works of European Old Masters as well as contemporary German painters such as Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter.
At Chambers Fine Art, 522 W.19th St., through Dec. 19. The gallery is open Tues.—Sat. from 10 a.m.—6 p.m.