Drawing inspiration from personal experience and, more recently, photographic source material, Louis Fratino (USA, 1993) makes paintings and drawings of the male body. His work includes portraits, nudes, and intimate scenes of male couples engaged in activities ranging from the mundane to the graphically sexual. The result is a body of work that is a loving and honest expression of the contemporary gay experience.

Fratino’s deeply intimate paintings, often featuring lovers, family, friends, and the artist himself, present the human figure as a site of vast emotive expression. Paint is applied and blended in swathes of color and texture, forming a seductive tactility mirrored in the painted subject matter. Drawing from an art historical lineage of modernist figure painters—including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Fernand Léger—Fratino’s works mine the possibilities of human connection amplified through the seductive power of the painted surface.

This selection of new works sees a shift from the domestic spaces that Fratino commonly depicts into the urban landscape, while also exploring psychological or metaphysical states. In some paintings, recognizable New York landmarks appear in the background as geographical markers of time and space, while in others, figures are unmoored from such associations, appearing in undefined color fields. In Fratino’s work, sexuality, intimacy, desire, and human connection are expressed as a constant presence for his subjects.

Louis Fratino, January, 2019, oil on canvas, 60 x 75 inches (190.5 x 152.4 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Louis Fratino, Spiral, 2019, oil on canvas, 14 x 11 inches (35.6 x 27.9 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Louis Fratino, Kissing Couple, 2019, oil on canvas, 75 x 60 inches (190.5 x 152.4 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Louis Fratino, Invitation, 2019, oil on canvas, 9 x 10 inches (20.3 x 25.4 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Louis Fratino, The Manhattan Bridge, 2019, oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches (121.9 x 152.4 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

LOUIS FRATINO: COME SOFTLY TO ME

Sikkema Jenkins & Co., 530 West 22nd Street, New York, NY

Through May 24, 2019

Featured image: Louis Fratino, Metropolitan, 2019, oil on canvas, 60 x 94.75 inches (152.4 x 240.7 cm). Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins & Co.