Patricia Low is pleased to present new paintings and sculpture by Kenny Scharf.
In his paintings, Scharf presents recognizable objects and repeated shapes each executed with the same vibrancy, energy and an innate humor.
Five of the paintings depict brightly colored iced donuts, one of America’s stodgy staples, surrounded by a virtual galaxy of slightly smaller treats hovering dominantly above a splattered background.
This series of work began in 2005 with Donut Jamboree. Since making this work, the donut has become a recognizable trademark of Scharf’s practice as both part of his pop-graphic language and a shorthand motif for mass consumerism. These paintings are a visual celebration of a physical confection with a feel good surface that belies the connotations of America’s love hate relationship with junk food and obesity.
In Kenny’s own words, “the universe is shaped like a donut”, hence the belief that his donuts transcend their inherent nature and are vested with a cosmic aura.
Untitled, Blah Blobs and Jello-orbz depict amorphous shapes inspired by Yves Tanguy’s Surrealist compositions, and have the appearance of globules of liquid mercury in jelly bean colors.
Re-Blobz, however presents similar shapes with cartoon faces referencing Scharf’s early paintings of well-known cartoon characters (The Jetsons and The Flintstones).
In Squirtz, Scharf brings his characters into gestural 3D form cast in seductive fiberglass capturing a startled cartoony figure coated with a saccharine shell.
Scharf’s work imbues iconic everyday objects with a glossy larger-than-life status. He takes an obvious pleasure in making these candy-colored paintings; yet in elevating the banal subjects or pop aesthetics to center stage, he automatically highlights the superficiality of their very nature and transcends the imagery itself.
Kenny Scharf came to prominence as part of the ‘East Village art scene’ in the early 1980s and coined the phrase ‘pop surrealism’ to describe his paintings and sculpture. Having named Patti Astor’s “Fun Gallery”, Scharf showed there twice during its five year run. The gallery also hosted exhibitions by Scharf’s contemporaries Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat among others.
Public collections include the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MOCA, LA; Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); Stedelijk Museum, Holland; Sogetsu Museum, Tokyo; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Ludwig Museum, Cologne.
Selected solo exhibitions include KENNY SCHARF, Nassau County Museum of Art, Roslyn, New York (2016 upcoming); Born Again Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles, (2015); Kenny Scharf, Colette Paris (2014); WeHo Walls, MOCA Public Library Mural West Hollywood, CA. (2011); California Grown, Pasadena Museum of Contemporary Art, Pasadena, CA (2004); Kenny Scharf, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills (2000); Pop Surrealist, Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, FL. (1997)
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