This July, NASA released the first photos from the James Webb Room Telescope, endlessly altering the precision with which we visualize the cosmos. The images’ aesthetics, nevertheless, are unsettlingly familiar, with their twinkling stars and smudge-like spiral galaxies drawing comparisons to bowling-alley carpets and the handles of pulp paperbacks.
With the exhibition “Wave Upon Wave,” Julian Rogers taps into a equivalent vibe as he turns our gaze skyward via a series of sunsets and cloudscapes rendered with exquisite verisimilitude. Rogers earlier labored in the studios of Jeff Koons and Bjarne Melgaard, in which he honed his capabilities as an marketplace painter. His clouds are impeccably crafted, the brushwork seeping efficiently into the canvas appropriate up to the pretty edges of each individual nimbus. By thinly applied oils, the artist coaxes out an astounding assortment of textures, ranging from blindingly lit popcorn fluff to the dingy streaks of stratus clouds, slung very low across the sky like the ripped knees of denim denims. But for all their claims to realism, the paintings are stubbornly fictional, hailing from digital composites forged in impossibly bold palettes. For Ranch Hand, 2021, the overlapping swells occur in shades of infant-powder-bottle pinks from an eruption of cobalt and indigo. In Wild Horses on Governing administration Land, 2022, a cadmium-crimson mushroom cloud wobbles on a cornflower-blue base, just higher than some melon-hued strands of dusk. The synthetic features of the compositions are even extra pronounced in Rogers’s sunsets. Unlimited, Nameless, 2021, sandwiches many rogue suns in a layer cake of darkish clouds, though My Sunset Underground, 2022, is pierced by a type of windshield glare. And but, as with the Webb photographs, these fantasy frontiers come to feel surprisingly familiar, suggesting the domesticated elegant of preloaded screensavers.