Skarstedt is pleased to present Black / White, a group exhibition of monochromatic works at Skarstedt East Hampton on view beginning August 19 through September 26, 2021.
Inciting contemplations on process, material, scale, and composition, the absence of color allows for a focus on concepts, subjects, and techniques without chromatic complexities. Whether a technological result or symbolic meaning, this reduced palette elicits an autonomy of form.
Blurring the boundaries between painting and process, Christopher Wool removed color, hierarchical composition, and internal form as a means to define his work by what was absent. “I became more interested in ‘how to paint it’ than ‘what to paint’” (C. Wool quoted in Whitney Museum of American Art: Handbook of the Collection, 2015, p. 421). Beginning in the mid-1980s, rubber rollers and stamps replaced the artist’s brush – commonly used for wallpaper application, these tools marked patterns of clovers, dots, vines, blossoms, abstract geometries, and more – allowing for a construct of repetitions with interlocked images, though altering its integrity through layering and overprinting. These imperfections, or glitches, in Wool’s vines and leaves are flawed and vulnerable, balancing between the mechanical and the man-made.
Introducing the mechanical in his own way, Albert Oehlen’s series of Computer Paintings, which began in the 1990s and concluded in 2008, interrogate traditional notions of painting. Employing a drawing software on his computer, Oehlen first rendered his composition with a mouse, questioning the skill of painting, while also adopting the infinite potential of digital imagery. Managing a complex composition without the need to formulate contrasts of color, Oehlen’s Untitled ranges from hard-edge to vaporous, looping lines, pixelated curves and checkered patterns in a monochromatic abstraction of hybrid techniques.
Of KAWS’ 2014 series of enlargements from Peanuts comics, UNTITLED (MBFB1) is just shy of illegibility, the beloved American beagle nearly lost in minimal abstraction. A formal, aesthetic object, charged with deep underlying cultural subtexts, KAWS’ black and white precision reveals societal cravings for fun and familiarity.
The exhibition includes works by George Condo, KAWS, Albert Oehlen, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and Christopher Wool.