Antoine Helwaser Gallery is pleased to present RED: Works from post-war and contemporary masters. Featuring a collection of paintings and photographic works from some of the best-known artists in post-war and contemporary art, the exhibition looks at the use of the color red. Examining the shifting meanings of the color, particularly from context to context, the presentation highlights the emotive properties of the color red. It also explores the formal concerns of the various artists’ works, and their incorporation of a color that is often perceived as tumultuous, strong, and altogether contentious.
Among some of the exhibition’s highlights are works by Abstract Expressionists Theodoros Stamos and Paul Jenkins, where dark hues and shades of red are layered upon each other to evoke a feeling of transcendence. Stamos’s work, Infinity Field, Lefkada Series #8 (1978) explores the expansiveness of the color, where broad areas of the canvas are covered by swathes of red, broken only by thin lines on the edges of the canvas. Paul Jenkins’ 1972 work, Phenomenal Cardinal Sign, reflects his belief in the mysticism and spiritualism of art. Reflective of this sensibility, this large work combines mellifluous brushstrokes with deep, rich tones, inspiring a sense of awe in its viewers. The work of pivotal Abstract Expressionist artist Hans Hofmann is also included in the exhibition; The Conjurer (Small Version) (1946) serves as an example to the significance that color served in Hofmann’s practice. Covered in a swirling myriad of colors, the vibrant, dramatic work stands as a testament that Fauvist principles had on his practice. Exploring the interplay of color and form, the works of the Abstract Expressionists look at the effects of the color red against different spatial relations and unique painting techniques.
Alongside the formal experiments of the Abstract Expressionists, figurative works are also included as a counterpoint to the non-representational uses of the color red. Later works from the Pop art movements are works such as Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Red Joy (1984). Deployed almost as a frame around a portrait, Basquiat’s use of the color red is dark and mendacious, reflecting a certain sinisterism in the face of the man that takes centerstage in the painting. Painted in broad strokes over a collage of his characteristic doodle-like drawings, the work also bears testament to Basquiat’s references to the punk and graffiti underground. Similarly, David LaChapelle’s photographic work David Bowie: Face Masks (1995) is a composite image of disconcerting artificial face masks staring out at the viewer. Arrayed against a solid background, the faces almost appear as though they were floating in a sea of red. Such works provoke a consideration of how the color red lends particular meanings to such contexts, where figures are the point of focus in such compositions.
The exhibition runs from May 2 - May 28, 2013, at the gallery location in Chelsea. For more information about the works or the exhibition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call at (646) 649 3744.