Skarstedt is pleased to announce Andy Warhol, the exhibition of late works by the artist opening at the London gallery in February 2023. Presenting nine paintings executed between 1976 and 1986, the exhibition highlights iconic series which came to define the final and one of the most prolific decades of the artist’s oeuvre. The exhibition features large-scale works from The American Indian, Hammer and Sickle, Oxidation, Diamond Dust Shoes, Knives, Eggs, Zeitgeist, and Camouflage series, revealing Warhol’s renewed interest in painting in the late 1970s and 80s, as well as his continued preoccupation with the notions of disappearance, and ephemerality of human existence.
Having announced his departure from painting in favour of movie making in 1965, Warhol returned to the medium in the early 1970s, embarking on a period of experimentation with the subject matter and the process of painting itself. In The American Indian (Russell Means), 1976, the features of the sitter, a renowned leader of the American Indian Movement, are described with painterly strokes, which Warhol made with his fingers in a dramatic introduction of the artist’s hand into his artistic process. Deliberately conflating a painterly gesture and mechanical reproduction, Warhol engages in a dialogue with the history of expressionist painting, the approach also evident in the Hammer and Sickle executed in the same year.
Begun in 1977, the Oxidation series also on view here marked a seismic shift in Warhol’s visual language, simultaneously heralding his exploration of abstraction in later works. With a network of patinated marks corroded by urine on copper paint, Oxidation (1977-78) makes an ironic reference to colour field painting and Jackson Pollock’s paint drips, whilst presenting a surface of almost sublime complexity evocative of rugged landscapes or cosmic formations. In a much later series of Camouflage (1986) paintings, the military “all-over” camouflage pattern repeatedly silkscreened on to the canvas suggests a kind of controlled, reproducible approach to abstraction, whilst also indirectly evoking the themes of artifice, violence and mortality characteristic of Warhol’s oeuvre.
Fusing popular imagery with subtle existential enquiry, Warhol’s late works in the exhibition reveal the unwavering interrogation of the medium as well as previously concealed aspects of his private and spiritual life, highlighting the significance of the late period in the artist’s oeuvre.