Skarstedt is pleased to present Variations in Abstraction, a group show featuring works by George Condo, Günther Förg, Jenny Holzer, Jacqueline Humphries, Martin Kippenberger, Richard Prince, David Salle, Lucien Smith and Andy Warhol. This exhibition explores the continuing influence of the Abstract Expressionist generation and each artist’s unique way of approaching abstraction.
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George Condo, recognized early on for his unmistakably dynamic portraits, manifests abstraction by method of compression. In The Shuffling Madness (2014) he forces his iconic portraits into a chaotic mass of color and form, a few remaining white markings the only decipherable vestiges of his toothy characters. Andy Warhol moved away from his celebrity and celebrated portraits of the 1960s in Shadow (Double) (1978), a silkscreen of a shadow that visually mimics the work of Abstract Expressionist Franz Kline. In the same year, Warhol’s Oxidation painting, comprised of urine-splashed copper, parodies another Abstract Expressionist painter, Jackson Pollock.
As German contemporaries, Günther Förg’s Untitled (1990) and Martin Kippenberger’s Nous n'avons pas de problèmes avec les dépressions, tant qu'elles ne se mettent pas à être en vogue (We don't have problems with depressions, as long as they don't come into fashion) (1986) display both artist’s intense preoccupation with the study of color. The uneven surface of Förg’s painting introduces a tension between the flatness of the picture plane and brushstroke, giving the color density and weight similar to that of well-known color field painters. Similarly, in his typical wit, jabbing at the archetype of the heroic Abstract Expressionist painter, Kippenberger frames the central translucent layers of paint with a quote from himself.
Lucien Smith’s 13 (2013) involves the appearance of spontaneity with underlying intent, interpreting Abstract Expressionist objectives through a contemporary lens. Smith showers the paint onto the canvas with a fire extinguisher, resulting in an ethereal composition that evokes the qualities of rain. Jacqueline Humphries promotes pure abstraction in Alias (1994) with a natural yet structured drip pattern. Humphries is interested in “pushing abstraction forward – or grabbing it out of the future,” while also looking to the past:
“To me American art is abstraction. It’s the culture I grew up in and
I think about its legacy a lot.”
- Jacqueline Humphries