Handler’s exhibition, “Ghosts,” features a collection of phantom creatures, including a variety of ghosts and monsters.
Set against backdrops of rain, polka dots, wildflowers, and starbursts, these paintings explore Handler’s interest in mortality and coping with the fear of loss. His artwork comes together in a brilliant, color-filled universe, with each painting offering a whimsical look at the “transience of life.”
Handler, a New York-based artist who was born in Queens and grew up on Long Island, has long explored a variety of media, from acrylic paintings to charcoal drawings. He was first exposed to painting in childhood (in his grandparent’s framing factory), and, to this day, he works hard to connect with the innocence and familiarity of his youth.
“Ghosts” builds off of these themes and explores the simplicity of youth. His art provides a different perspective on subjects that are often troublesome and frightening to children and adults alike, from monsters and ghosts to the challenges of living in an unpredictable world.
Handler’s formal art training began when he studied Life Drawing in Italy, then graduated from Purchase College in New York with a degree in Art History. He also studied Craft Design with Jorge Nieves and Printing Color Photography under the direction of Debra Mesa-Pelly.
“Ghosts” is Handler’s first London solo exhibition. However, he has had many other solo exhibitions in New York, including shows at Chelsea’s Fred Torres Gallery and East Hampton’s Janet Lehr Fine Arts Gallery (formerly known as Vered Gallery). His work has been shown at a variety of major art fairs, too, including Art New York and Art Market Hamptons.
Those who want to view Handler’s work for themselves can do so through December 5. Attendees must RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org before they can visit the gallery.
Interview With the Artist
Can you talk about what you’re trying to communicate with the use of phantom characters in your work?
The Ghosts represented in this body of works build upon a more extended series of ghost paintings I have been working with for nearly ten years. In the more recent body of paintings, the ghost will pair themselves with a monster/phantom-like creature. I have always wanted to express these darker and somewhat sinister entities but only found that my ghosts were the perfect counterpart until recently.
How would you define life, mortality, and fear?
Life can be so beautiful, which is sad that it will not be there one day. Mortality is accepting that life is precious, and fear is losing the things you treasure and hold most dear in this world.
What color is Life? Fear? Loss?
I would say life is green, fear is red and loss is purple.
Can you tell us about the process of making your works?
For the most part, the process is rather simple… in that I will have a general concept of what I am planning on painting and the size. From there, the works usually take on a life of their own… it’s one of the great pleasures in painting when something special happens by chance.
How did you become an artist? Is there a particular experience that drove you to this choice?
I always knew that I had a different way of seeing things and perhaps feeling things as well. It wasn’t until I started painting that I felt “right.” I tried writing, poetry, music, but all never clicked the way painting did.
If you could work within a past art movement, which would it be?
I would probably say late ’40s-’70s in NYC. I would love to have a drink and passionate conversations with AbEx (Abstract Expressionist) artists in a bar downtown.
Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?
I would say Frida Khalo. Growing up, she was one of the first artists I learned about because of my mother’s love for her and her work.
In reflecting back to the beginning of your career, what is the most useful advice you ever received?
I would say the most useful advice that I have received and, in turn, tell other artists seeking advice is to always continue creating. Even if you do not have exhibitions lined up or collectors purchasing your work, one must never forget the foundation of being an artist, which is the love of exploring the world through art.
Is there an artwork in “Ghosts” you are most proud of? Why?
That’s always a difficult question, but in this exhibition, I would probably choose “Wild Ghost.” It is one of the most simple works in the exhibition, but it captures a feeling for me that’s nostalgic and free.
What makes D’ Stassi a unique destination for an artist?
It’s a place where you can be an artist and be around other artists. They have created an environment that fosters positive energy and enthusiasm for the arts, which is vital.