Patrick Angus / Navot Miller. Where loneliness lies

April 19 – May 18, 2024

Personal and intimate – this brief characterization applies both to the works of US-American artist Patrick Angus (1953-1992) and to the paintings of Berlin-based Israeli artist Navot Miller (*1991). Both draw the subjects of their art from their own lives, offering sometimes intimate insights into their social environment and lifestyle. Under the title "Where loneliness lies", works by the two artists enter into a dialog in the spaces of Galerie Thomas Fuchs (Reinsburgstr. 68a & Augustenstr. 63). The juxtaposition of these two artists reveals yet another connecting aspect: The subject of loneliness and its compensation.

Patrick Angus (*1953 in North Hollywood, †1992 in New York, USA) – whose estate is represented by the gallery – openly addressed his identity as a gay man in his paintings and drawings already in the 1980s. With strip shows, bars and porn-cinemas, he depicted the subcultural places in New York where gay men could meet like-minded people and live out their sexual orientation despite social taboos and prohibitions at the time. However, Angus rarely conveys a happy interaction or erotic tension in these depictions. Instead, an almost melancholy atmosphere of loneliness and isolation dominates the majority of his works. The porn films and strip shows are consumed by the audience with stiff expressions. If there are any encounters between the visitors, they mostly seem to be of a “for sale”-nature. Emotional fulfillment, one could assume, is found here only by very few. Angus' depictions thus appear to be a subjective commentary on the subculture scene of which he himself was a part. He tells of longings and disappointments, of lack of relationships and loneliness and the attempt to overcome them.

With their intense and contrasting colors, Navot Miller's (*1991 in Shadmot Mehola, West Bank) paintings appear quite joyful at first glance. Like Angus, he finds the inspiration for his works in his everyday life, on his travels and especially in the people he meets. The paintings in the exhibition, which were all created within the last six months, bear witness to this. They show (semi-)naked men – friends and sexual partners of the artist – in hotel rooms, on sunny beaches or against the mountainous backdrop of Lake Como. The bright and colorful visual language into which Miller transforms his experiences on canvas corresponds with the seemingly carefree lifestyle presented. But on closer inspection, Miller's paintings also have a subtly melancholy tone. This is created first and foremost by his figures, who in the works in the exhibition all turn their gaze away from us and often longingly into the distance. These back-views – Miller reveals the names of the men shown in the titles of the paintings – also contribute strongly to the intimacy of the scenes depicted. Like a visual diary, the pictures tell of the artist's encounters, of what he has seen and experienced. Authenticity is one of his central aims. And the reality of the painter's life also includes those moments and encounters that make him reflect, sometimes even make him feel lonely and question his lifestyle. His paintings thus speak a similar language to the works of Patrick Angus. In the end Miller's work is also about fundamental human needs: Intimacy, affection and love.

(Text: Tobias Bednarz)

Patrick Angus was born in North Hollywood in 1953 and died in New York in 1992. Previous solo exhibitions include "Patrick Angus: Voyeur", Long Beach Museum of Art, 2019 and "Patrick Angus. Private Show", Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, 2017. Previous group exhibitions include "Every Moment Counts. AIDS and its Feelings”, Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, 2022; "Any distance between us", RISD Museum, 2021 and "Body. Gaze. Power. – A Cultural History of the Bath", Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden, 2020.

Navot Miller was born in 1991 in Shadmot Mehola in the West Bank, where he also grew up. He initially studied architecture at the Universität der Künste Berlin before studying art at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee from 2017 to 2022. Navot Miller lives and works in Berlin. In 2023, paintings by him were included in the group exhibition "Who's Afraid Of Stardust? Positions of Contemporary Queer Art" which was shown jointly by Kunsthaus Nürnberg and Kunsthalle Nürnberg.