Making art ain’t easy. It can be a lonely life, spent struggling to get what’s in your head onto a canvas. Artists Pamela Jaeger, Paul Brogan and Brian Dombrowsky all know that struggle. This led the trio to collaborate for the exhibition Solus Voices, opening at Thumbprint Gallery (920 Kline St. in La Jolla) from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, and on view through March 3.
Solus is Latin for “alone.”
“We came together with Solus Voices because we were all working with things that have to do with being in your own head,” explains Dombrowsky, whose paintings of animals explore the concept of non-verbalization. “It’s the idea that we’re all alone together, and while we’re alone together, we’re all watching and observing.”
Dombrowsky is a trained sculptor who moved over to painting as his primary medium, translating his ability to manipulate lines and space onto canvas. He’s exhibited alongside both Jaeger and Brogden numerous times; the trio’s pop-surrealist style complements each other despite each having different aesthetics.
Jaeger’s paintings are dream-like and subtly haunting, featuring females who look like prettier, more elegant versions of characters from a Tim Burton film. Brogden’s style, meanwhile, leans more toward caricature. For this show, he’s showing mostly black-and-white works that are accentuated with pops of color and explore the idea of finding a path. It’s a theme that has a deeper meaning for the artist, who suffered a near-career-ending car accident that left him with limited use of his hands and fingers.
“For the most part, they are a transmission of things that have been on my mind recently,” Brogden says of his new works in an email. “One thing I love about creating is the ability to lay down feelings, things I have seen or heard, or conversations I have had and have them turn into ideas for pieces.”
Dombrowsky describes his new works as “man meets nature,” with animals serving as a proxy for his own observations of the world. “I like to paint stories,” he says. “So, when you get to the canvas, and depending on how you feel about certain things, it will be about how you read it. It can go in different ways.”