George Condo "Ink Drawings" @ Skarstedt Gallery, LondonJuxtapoz // Wednesday, 12 Feb 2014
Skarstedt London is delighted to announce an exhibition of new works on paper by American artist George Condo, to coincide with a solo exhibition at Simon Lee Gallery from 11th February 2014. This will be the artist’s third solo show at Skarstedt and the first at the new London gallery, which follows his acclaimed retrospective George Condo: Mental States, at the Hayward Gallery, London in 2011- 2012.
Since the beginning of his artistic career, drawing and works on paper have formed an important part of George Condo’s working practice. Featuring monumental works on paper this exceptional series, realised over a six-month period, marks an exciting new area of focus for Condo.
"My intention with this body of work was to explore the extreme possibilities of ink on paper. I used the medium to create transparent layers of colors. I thought of Rothko at times and his overlapping veils of transcendental space. I placed the figure into this kind of space and used lines to define their ambiguous presence in the void."
Following his pivotal exhibition of Drawing Paintings at Skarstedt New York in 2011, Condo has explored the relationship between the directness of drawing and the controlled methods of painting. The new works on paper are characterised by a dark brooding palette and a return to the figurative in subject matter. Marking a deliberate move away from the abstract tendencies of previous work, this series heralds the beginning of a new stylistic engagement with a traditional subject in which the drama of the works is intensified by their impressive scale.
In Standing Bather, 2013 the female nude positioned centre of the composition embodies an angelic purity against the tempestuous background of dark browns and black. Through his elongation of the female form to grand dimensions and his application of gesso onto the paper, Condo imbues the figure with a sculptural quality and magnifies her figurative presence. Here as in other works in the series, the wash of colour dripping down the surface of the paper underscores the gestural freedom and spontaneity of drawing which Condo has embraced in this new body of work.
Mirroring the continual dialogue between Condo’s drawings and paintings, the simultaneous exhibitions at Skarstedt and Simon Lee reflect the collaborative approach of both galleries to presenting Condo’s work. Continuing in the vein of Condo’s synthesis of both drawing and painting within his oeuvre, the concurrent exhibitions in London further the artist’s on-going exploration of both mediums.