CHICAGO, IL.- Richard Gray Gallery
presents Flowers, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Alex Katz. The exhibition will be on view at the gallerys Michigan Avenue location in Chicago from November 11, 2019 through January 10, 2020.
Widely acclaimed for his graphic portraiture and expansive landscapes, American artist Alex Katz showcases a new body of Iris oil paintings that continue his dedicated interest in the natural environment. This exhibition highlights the artists process by showing Katzs intimately scaled painting studies alongside his larger works. Here, Katz depicts his ﬂoral subjects in tightly cropped compositions, deftly distilled down to their fundamental components. Created at the artists studio in Maine, the Iris paintings recall his ﬁrst encounter with painting en plein air in 1949 at the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture. Painting studies are paramount to Katzs studio practice, as he works from life when drafting them in an effort to capture the ﬂeeting inspirational moment. Only after reﬁning the studies to convey the essence of his subjects does Katz translate the compositions to a larger canvas. This technique, poet and critic John Yau conﬁrms, is Katzs way of staying true to the shock of the original perception
His subject is the present tense of seeing, not something recollected in tranquility.
Within this focused exhibition, Katzs Irises are depicted in his signature styleﬂower petals appear as splashes of yellow among broad criss-crossing strokes of blue-green stems, all overlaid on lively backgrounds of pink, orange, or green. Blending formal aspects of abstraction and representation, Katz allows each composition to operate as both an intimate still life and an enveloping landscape that, as author and critic Calvin Tompkins describes, "make us see the world the way he sees it, clear and up close, with all but the most essential details pared away.
Alex Katz (American, b. 1927) is one of the most recognized and widely exhibited artists of his generation. Often associated with the Pop Art movement, Katz began exhibiting his work in 1954, and since that time has produced an iconic body of work including paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints. His earliest work took inspiration from multiple facets of mid-century American culture and aesthetics, including television, ﬁlm, and advertising, and over the past ﬁve and a half decades he has established himself as a preeminent painter of contemporary life, whose distinctive portraits and lyrical landscapes bear a ﬂattened surface and consistent economy of line.
Utilizing characteristically wide brushstrokes, large swaths of color, and reﬁned compositions, Katz created what art historian Robert Storr has notably called "a new and distinctive type of realism in American art which combines aspects of both abstraction and representation. Since the 1950s, Alex Katz's work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions and nearly 500 group exhibitions around the world. His work can be found in more than 100 public collections worldwide, including the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, DC; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Tate, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many others.