CLEVELAND, OH.- The Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland presents Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002-2006, on view through December 30. Dana Schutz's ecstatically imaginative paintings have established her as one of the rising stars of the contemporary art world and one of the most sought-after young artists in the United States today. With lush surfaces and a flamboyant palette ranging from gaudy yellows and reds to deep greens and purples, Schutz's figurative paintings portray hypothetical scenarios that are gruesome and funny, unsettling and absurd. In many of her works, Schutz paints things that one almost cannot imagine: figures devouring themselves in the Self-Eaters series (2003), another recreating itself from dismembered parts in the painting Twin Parts (2004). Preposterous and bordering on the grotesque, these works serve, for the artist, as metaphors for exploring the creative process of making and remaking. Other works in the exhibition, such as Party (2004), a painting that portrays the Bush Administration Cabinet, are more politically satiric in nature, delivered with the verve so typical of Schutz's painting.
Schutz draws on a rich amalgamation of sources including the German Expressionists, Henri Matisse and the Fauves, Paul Gauguin and the Symbolists, Philip Guston and others, but she inventively twists, subverts, and recreates pictoral conventions with a compelling intensity and freshness. In her paintings, narrative and portraiture become something totally unexpected. "My pictures float in and out of pictorial genres," says Schutz. "Still-lifes become personified, portraits become events, and landscapes become constructions. I embrace the area between which the subject is composed and decomposing, formed and formless, inanimate and alive." In quoting or assimilating art historical styles, Schutz's paintings tell the story of the history of painting in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. It is a history that the artist boldly makes her own in paintings deftly executed with imagination, vigor, and conviction.
Dana Schutz: Paintings 2002-2006, the first comprehensive solo museum exhibition of the artist's work, features eighteen paintings created over the last four years. The exhibition was curated by Raphaela Platow and was organized by The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts.