“These paintings beg for the return of miracles and hope. Not looking back at the dogma of life as we know it now—but to a brighter future full of endless possible possibilities. Each, for me, is a prayer.”
-Andrea Marie Breiling, Brooklyn 2/24/21
Andrea Marie Breiling’s large-scale paintings employ swooping bands of spray paint built up in fevered layers. Bristling with an evangelical fervor and a fierce commitment to improvisation and freedom, each painting acts as a document of extreme effort—both physical and emotional. Churned up like a storm, the compositions tend to pour forth from the relatively ordered logic of an axis or horizon, drenching the picture plane and creating a sublime depth of space and feeling. Though based primarily in Los Angeles, Breiling made this cohesive body of work here in New York and the paintings reflect the influence of our weather, architecture (bridges in particular), and a bruised and moody aura that feels directly related to her deeply personal sensitivities to location and daily life.
Sensing our need in this moment, Breiling’s gestural communion with the canvas is her version of an escape, and an individualized expression of New York’s perseverance and hope. In her striving to find a more authentic conduit to a wider view, and the vantage of a higher plateau, Breiling has moved into some fertile new territory. The spiritualism of William Blake and El Greco—two manifesters of air and determined renderers of the Holy Spirit—is reverse-conjured from know-it-all cyberspace back onto reassuringly real supports using some Dick Blick approximation of their sacred pigments. In this way, Breiling evokes J.M.W. Turner lashed to the search engine to suffer atmospheric conditions of the exponentially more brutal algorithm. For example, with For Golden Hands to Come Alive (A Miracle is Happening) we feel the full force of the physical and psychic deluge of the painting’s creation as well as the hopeful glow of its fixed presence.
Ultimately, in the making, it’s Breiling’s present purity of feeling, a mannered expression of exertion (all painting is action painting!), a youthful clawing-out of a swirling pit of despair—and not any specious illusion of novelty or progression—that elevates the experience of viewing these works. The celestial ladder is presented for all to ascend at will, IRL.