Headspace at MM Fine Art

Rainer Andreesen's “Wayne,” 2020, oil on canvas, 36” x 48”.

MM Fine Art (4 North Main Street, Southampton, mmfineart.com), has opened for the season with “Headspace,” an exhibition featuring the work of Rainer Andreesen.

The show will be on view through July 5.

“Headspace is a series of portraits that began many years ago in my thoughts,” writes the artist. “I wanted to capture a group of subjects that convey compassion and empathy for the human condition, and do that in its simplest form, without distraction. Each of the subjects I chose to paint, have influenced me in a profound way, by somehow changing the trajectory of life, for the better. I am forever grateful to them, with all my heart.”

Born in 1963, Rainer Andreesen was raised on a remote island on the north west coast of Canada. Drawing since age 5, his obsession with art and the love of old master paintings from Rembrandt to John Singer Sargent led him to further his education in the arts.

Like the masters who influenced him, Andreesen, now a New Yorker, has long been driven by the desire to not merely draw a likeness of a person but to convey the essence of their spirit. A series of recent life altering events led Andreesen to contemplate the human condition in all its complexity. In this collection of works, which the artist describes as a meditation on the human condition, he specifically explores and pays homage to pivotal relationships and inspirational friendships.

Each sitter included in “Headspace” has significantly influenced and touched Andreesen’s life journey in some way. Relationships range from the intimate, such as the portrait of his husband Victor, who he portrays on the precipice of a life-threatening illness, to the inspirational, like his portrait of John Singer Sargent, a significant influence whose impact can be detected in the artist’s use of values and brushwork. Evident, also, is the important role that music plays in his work, with portraits included of the iconic David Bowie and Irish singer songwriter Mick Flannery, whose work became the soundtrack for this series.

Close friends and colleagues are immortalized as well. Rounding out the series are two self-portraits.

The catalyst for this collection of paintings was the realization that one never truly knows what private struggles others are experiencing at any given time and the sense of empathy that was motivated by that realization. Perhaps at this turbulent time in our shared experience, the message is more relevant than ever. These compelling and frank portraits are an apt reminder to take the time to consider the depths of the anonymous faces among us.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a printed catalog.

Next up at MM Fine Art will be “Manhattan to Montauk,” a show featuring the work of Ben Aronson running July 11 to 26. Celebrating Long Island and its art history, Aronson’s work is characterized by gestural, energetic brushstrokes, and is heavily influenced by Abstract Expressionism, though rendered with a high degree of realism.