In a group show at the Skylight Gallery titled “The Presence of Absence,” Paul Loughney explores how negative space left by an absent figure creates an entirely new scene and presence of subject. Collaging inornate clippings of contemporary magazines, Loughney relies on the juxtaposition of pattern and color to portray his nebulous beings: in one image there’s a crowd of people; and in another there appears a woman in the corner of a room whose figure is made out of window drapes, reminiscent of Magritte’s Decalcomania.

Loughney—who received his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University—created two previous bodies of collage work before creating “Conversations with the Void.” Those past works didn’t shy away from the recognizable and unambiguous. In “End of Days are so Yesterday,” Loughney places religious and political figures towering in the sky, and injects magazine cuttings of diamonds and candy in very surprising places. They are super-charged with imagery connotative of armageddon, and the works are oftentimes delightfully scattered. It’s not hard to imagine Loughney turned to the absence of subjects in order to simplify the representation of his ideas, but although his figures aren’t presented so loudly they nevertheless convey an ominous chill that gives all his work such impact.

Opening reception is tonight, April 10th, from 6-9PM at the Skylight Gallery (538 West 29th Street, New York, NY 10001. 646-772-2407.) To see more work, visit Loughney’s official website.