Beautiful Burnout

Marie Thibeault
Beautiful Burnout
Oil on canvas, 60” x 57”, 2023

Patrick Brien
Oil, acrylic, and spray paint on canvas, 60” x 48”, 2020

Axis Gallery is pleased to present Desire Paths, a two-person exhibition of contemporary paintings by Marie Thibeault & Patrick Brien, curated by Mirabel Wigon. These works examine abstracted notions of the landscape in response to the artists’ regions and lived experiences, both seen and unseen.

Excerpt taken from Wigon’s essay Adrift written for the Desire Paths catalog, “Seeking to expand the potentials of abstraction as a political and radical act, both artists upend western notions of the landscape. The work challenges the representations of the landscape as perpetuators of colonial and industrial triumph. Rather, the paintings harness the visual languages of abstraction, using mapped, territorial patterns to revise the representation of the landscape to one of ecological crisis and mediated experience. One might suppose mapping and diagrams are fixed constraints, but here the relationship within the work evokes something else entirely. The viewer is prompted to inquire, look deeply, criticize, and explore these “territorial patterns” through the array of fluctuating maps, diagrams, silhouettes, and “ground” planes – imagined spaces informed by specific places. Extrapolated from their surroundings, the patterns act as mediations relating to the real. Repeated and woven through painted layers, the patterns become structural, creating a framework for the paintings’ physical and conceptual navigation. The painting then becomes the representational and material embodiment of a tectonic architectural model, where the very construction of an edifice is meant to reveal its internal order.”

Desire Paths features a series of works which is quintessentially Californian, as they respond to the tradition of painting regionally. The works in question reject notions that abstraction is purely the realm of the non-objective. Visual cues of intersecting signs, both iconographic and material, can speak to the longing and search for ways to create meaning and see our world anew. With playful abandon each artist strives to harness the languages of painting to create a new pathway into the unknown.

Click here to view the exhibition catalog.


Marie Thibeault’s large-scale oil paintings address the tension of urban landscape and the natural world. While referencing the surrounding landscape with atmospheric color fields, the work contrasts architectural structures with organic forms to suggest the ideas of flux, change and instability in our environment. Recent solo exhibitions include Conveyance, at the Long Beach Museum of Art, Weathering at Gremillion Fine Art, in Houston, and Illuminations at Von Fraunberg Gallery in Dusseldorf. Her paintings have been included in notable exhibitions such as The Feminine Sublime at the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and Color Vision, at the Huntington Beach Art Center. Additional exhibitions include Engineering at George Lawson Gallery in San Francisco, and Broken Symmetries, Torrance Art Museum in Torrance, CA. She has participated in the L’air Arts residency in Paris, the Two Coats of Paint in New York, and the US Thai Exchange Program at Silpakorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. Her work has been reviewed in several publications, including Art in America, the Los Angeles Times, L.A. Weekly, the San Francisco Chronicle and Artillery Magazine Thibeault has an MFA from UC Berkeley, and BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She is currently Professor Emerita of Art at California State University Long Beach where she taught advanced painting and color theory for over 30 years. Her studio is in San Pedro California, overlooking the Port of Los Angeles and the Pacific Ocean. Visit their website to learn more:

Patrick Brien (b. 1980 Nashville, TN) received his BFA from Middle Tennessee State University in 2004 and his MFA from The Lamar Dodd School of Art at The University of Georgia in 2015. Brien’s work explores abstraction utilizing coded signs to reference the built environment, landscape, archaeology, and mapping. His work has been shown nationally, including exhibitions at Corridor 2122 and Arts Visalia in California’s Central Valley, Threesquared Gallery, Twist Gallery and Cumberland Gallery in Nashville, Southside Gallery in Oxford, Mississippi, and Rogue Space in New York, NY. His work is included in numerous private collections. Brien teaches painting and drawing at California State University, Stanislaus and additional courses at College of the Sequoias and Reedley College. He currently lives and works in Visalia, CA. Visit their website to learn more:


Mirabel Wigon is an artist residing in the San Joaquin Valley of California. She creates large-scale landscape paintings grappling with environmental phenomena resulting from, and related to, the built landscape. These paintings explore notions of progress, instability, and system collapse. Her works have been featured in numerous group exhibitions both regionally and nationally. Her recent work has been exhibited in Cementation/Dissolution at Axis Gallery in Sacramento, CA; Fragments at Strata Gallery in Santa Fe, NM; New Voices at the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery in Chico, California; Shifting Ground at the Michael Stearns Gallery in San Pedro, CA; Made in California at Brea Gallery in Brea, CA; and Painted 2021: 5th Biennial Survey at Manifest Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her awards include the Linda A. Day Endowed Student Award, Werby Marylin Award, and Provost Purchase Award. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Traditional Art from California State University, East Bay and her Master of Fine Arts in Drawing and Painting from California State University, Long Beach. She is currently Assistant Professor of Art at California State University, Stanislaus where she teaches drawing and painting. Visit their website to learn more:

Panel Conversation 6.10.23 3:30-4:30pm*

Reception 6.10.23 5-8pm

*Instagram Live @mirabelwigon