Double Entendre

Somewhere in the midst of becoming a painter, Mark Penner Howell discovered the human figure. And if there’s anything especially new and interesting about the works going on display tonight for his solo show Double Rainbow Plans: Paintings by Mark Penner Howell at Walker Fine Art, that shift in focus — and his own compelling affinity for rendering the figure — is the foremost thing.

Not that his previous paintings — pop-culture pastiches overlaid with social commentary — didn’t include figures. But now, he says, his figures have become characters that are “less iconic or types, and more of a step closer to being real people.” And mixed up in that act of visual storytelling, there’s an aspect of duality and self-examination, too. “What is an integrated self, when we can all be multitudes of people continuously making infinite choices that become who we are?” Howell asks. “As I decide what to paint, I’m thinking about those kinds of things — splitting a person up into multiple selves that are all interacting with each other. I’ve been reading a lot about the science of how personality is constructed, and it changes constantly. I like that.” In these paintings, he explores his own metamorphosing personality as refracted through the eyes of his characters.

Double Rainbow Plans opens with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m. at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, and runs through May 31; works by Bryan Leister, Heather Patterson and Danny Williams will be on display in the back gallery. Visit walkerfineart.com for details.
Fri., April 25, 6-9 p.m.; Tuesdays-Saturdays; Fri., May 2, 6-8 p.m. Starts: April 25. Continues through May 31, 2014

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd