Art / Doron Langberg
:: Three Works ::
From the artist
:: Account ::
My work is about closeness—to my subjects, painted surfaces, and the viewer. I make large-scale oil paintings of my friends, lovers, and family. My process starts with making portraits from life as source material. In these small paintings, I work improvisationally and generate ideas about color and materiality that will be the structure for my larger works. My relationship with my subjects is the driving force behind my work and what guides my formal and image decisions. This familiarity allows me to gauge whether the painting I’m working on embodies the subject I’m depicting: it’s a measure of my empathy and of the painting’s potential to feel like a living person. The heightened colors and variety of textures and marks are my way of externalizing the subjects’ interiority, giving the viewer a sense of their humanity, and through that, my own. This is a response to the dehumanization of queerness I see embedded in our legal system, in the media, and in everyday life. The history of painting also reflects such attitudes in the work of artists like Delacroix, Courbet, Ingres, Picasso etc.; their desire is metaphorical of the most major themes in culture like war, god, life, death and more, whereas representations of queer desire are not afforded that same gravity, seen as only able to stand for what they depict. As a way out of this bind, I look at artists and writers such as Alice Neel, James Baldwin, and David Hockney that come from marginalized points of view, but who were able to transcend this challenge and speak to larger truths. Inspired by Hockney’s diary-like imagery, I situate depictions of queer sexuality and intimacy within a larger narrative of everyday scenes, framing queerness as a way of viewing and being in the world rather than just a subject matter. In these chromatic environments, fueled by personal connection and a near abstract formal quality, I want to make queer pleasure, friendship, and intimacy feel expansive, and for my figures—and me by proxy—to have the freedom to be fully themselves.
Doron Langberg (b.1985, Yokneam, Israel) lives and works in New York. He received his MFA from Yale University and holds a BFA from UPenn and a Certificate from PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts). Langberg has attended the Sharpe Walentas Studio Program, Yaddo artist residency, and the Queer Art Mentorship Program and is currently at the EFA Studio Program. His work was shown at the LSU museum, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Leslei Lohman Museum, The PAFA Museum, Perrotin Gallery, Yossi Milo Gallery, DC Moore Gallery, 1969 Gallery, and several university art galleries. Langberg’s work was reviewed in Art in America, Frieze Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, ArtCritical, and GAYLETTER, and it is in the collection of the PAFA Museum.