(St. Moritz, Switzerland)—Vito Schnabel Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Julian Schnabel, "6 Rose Paintings", which will remain on view through March 8, 2016. These six paintings consisting of broken plates and wood are covered with lush viridian, sap green, and black oil paint, pink rose madder, violet and white. There is no blue sky in these paintings. These roses grow in the cemetery near Van Gogh’s grave in Auvers-sur-Oise, France. They remain in an agitated state of destruction where broken shards of plates form nature’s un-composed, organic, and inevitable rhythm. Flowers float in a sea of green leaves, like islands seen from above. With more looking, the physical and the pictorial become indistinguishable from each other.
Schnabel’s work is marked by his ability to morph and change using an amalgam of materials, surfaces, and sources, always incorporating different ways of applying paint to a surface. “It was that radical moment that an artist waits for. I wanted to make something that was exploding as much as I wanted to make something that was cohesive.” - Referring to 'The Patients and the Doctors', the first plate painting, 1978.
Schnabel came across this unlikely material in 1978 in Park Güell in Barcelona while looking at Gaudí’s work and searching for a new way to paint. “My interest, unlike Gaudi’s, was not in the patterning or the design of the glazed tiles, it was in the reflective property of white plates to disturb the picture plane. The disparity between reflectiveness of the plates and the paint were in disagreement with each other and the concept of mosaic, because they fractured its homogeneity.” In these new rose paintings plates function in a very different way, submerged in paint they become the shadows of leaves and flowers and lose their identity as they assume a new identity as nature.