Night Gallery is pleased to present Howl, an exhibition of new paintings by esteemed Los Angeles based painter David Korty.
This new body of work is a departure from Korty’s earlier regiment of formalism. His “Word Painting” and “Shelf Painting” series were defined by very strict parameters such as limiting himself to a singular blue or framing each composition with a border. Here he has let loose and allowed for more colors, expression, and at times humor, resulting in energetic, animated figuration.
Each piece in this exhibition utilizes Korty’s signature collage and painting technique to construct cartoonish, mouselike humanoid figures set within deep chromatic fields of mustard yellow, spruce green, crimson, royal blue and orange. The collaged elements are composed of black and white fragments of rubbings, monoprints, and gestural brushstrokes of ink on paper. By employing simple methods and a specifically defined palette to create these elements, Korty is able to devote himself fully to the pained and precise structuring of each composition. Theviewer is made aware of this process by additive and subtractive marks which create a tension and illusionistic quality within fields of color that at first glance appear clean and unmarked.
Though aesthetically timeless, Korty’s new works speak distinctly to this moment in history. The figures, with their rigidly straightened arms, uplifted shoulders, and pointing fingers, take on a Nixonian presence. The pointing finger is a new icon within Korty’s lexicon that is repeated throughout the paintings, alluding to reductive social media interactions and the prevailing political culture of castigation that has been fueled by the internet. This is accomplished with a particular subtlety that is more playful than didactic. Korty’s paintings appear simple at first but with time their many immaterial, compositional, and chromatic intricacies reveal themselves to the viewer.