View the Exhibition Booklet here.
Dana Schutz is an acclaimed painter known for her exuberant canvases featuring grotesquely comic figures performing activities of creativity, violence, and contemplation. She has been one of the most talked about artists of the past decade, consistently finding new narrative structures to infuse the venerable tradition of painting with an unpredict- able expressionism. Her ideas for paintings, including “the last thing you see before you die” and simultaneous acts of “swimming, smoking, crying” are just enough of a prompt to get her working. What is less known about Schutz is her use of drawing and printmaking as exploratory mediums where her often discombobulated forms are figured out, color palettes are tested, and stylistic approaches are vetted.
This selection of Schutz’s works on paper features portraits of friends and family, and invented personages that are simultaneously tender and crude. Working in dry and wet mediums (charcoal, ink, watercolor, and various printmaking mediums) with equal dexterity, Schutz’s drawings and prints have some of the elegance and observational focus of David Hockney and Alice Neel, and the awkward intensity of artists including Max Beckman, Peter Saul, and late Philip Guston.
Speaking in her studio about a group of invented heads rendered in ink and dry brush, Schutz said, “These portraits are my haystacks,” a funny and perceptive comment referring to Claude Monet and his infamous motif. The portraits in question show various men and women, each with idiosyncratic hairdos and precise facial features, that express anger, concern, sadness, or contentment. Her range of represented protagonists seem to be stand-ins for the artist herself and/or kindred spirits, confronting the world with energy and wonder.
Schutz lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited in solo exhibitions at Zach Feuer Gallery, New York; Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin; The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA; Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, OH; and Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris. Her paintings are in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art, in New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2010, a monograph on her work was published by Rizzoli International Publications.
Image: Dana Schutz, Untitled (detail), 2005, Gouache and ink on paper, Courtesy of the artist and Zach Feuer Gallery, New York