Summer of Expressionism at HEDGE

Justin Brennan, Chet, oil and spray paint on Canvas, 24 X 24 inches, 2022

Artists Justin Brennan and Douglas Max Utter continue their artistic quests to decipher the world around them, painting expressive portraits and narrative scenes which interpret and reflect the human psyche.

This May, HEDGE Gallery opens Wide Eyed, a rousing array of new figurative paintings by Justin Brennan. Brennan continues his exploration of the human form: dissecting faces, studying the body and portraying the interiors we live in.

He paints with thick, direct brushwork and a diversified palette consisting of vivid fluorescents and traditional colors, combining oils, latex, enamels and spray paint. Brennan, being a mainly self-taught artist, states, “my work may be unsophisticated, but it comes from a place of wonderment and is a pure expression of my innermost thoughts.” Brennan helps manage his family catering business, and most days are spent busy in a prep kitchen environment. The hustle bustle of his day job leads to active evenings in his studio where paint and other material are wielded across canvas, creating powerful gestures of figures in motion.

Douglas Max Utter, Crosswalk, acrylic and black pastel on canvas, 24 X 24 inches, 2020

In July, HEDGE features Family Life and Other Fancies (Paintings Then and Now), a collective of recent paintings, drawings and prints by Douglas Max Utter, paired with other selections of Utter’s works that date back to 1980–2000. His subject matter continues to consist of portraits, memories from childhood, still lifes and urban scenes, and we will be digging into the archives to choose works that share a common narrative, even if thirty years separate them.

Sharing stories seems to consume most of the studio visits I have with Doug Utter, while excitedly sifting through stacks of work that manifest themselves like full-color journal entries.

Utter’s artwork comes from a place of raw emotion, or lately, illustrates ethereal images from Cleveland neighborhoods. Whether he is portraying the figure, a bouquet of flowers or an abandoned storefront, unadulterated color and an extensive combination of materials have always permeated his work.

1300 West 78th Street, Suite 200
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
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Justin Brennan: Wide Eyed, May 19–July 7

Douglas Max Utter: Family Life and Other Fancies (Paintings Then and Now), July 21–August 18