August 19th, 2009

Philip Taaffe, “Unit of Direction No. 2″ (2008). Via Gagosian Gallery.

Until August 21st Gagosian Gallery is displaying a small group exhibition of exuberant abstract paintings which celebrate circles, dots and spots at their West 24th Street location. The collection of nine paintings covers work from their most prestigous artists;  included are works by Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Mike Kelley and Roy Lichenstein.

Related Links:
Ecstatic Abstraction: Press Release [Gagosian Gallery]
Ecstatic Abstraction at Gagosian Gallery []

Yayoi Kusama, “Infinite Nothingness” (2008). Via Gagosian Gallery.

In her 1960 ‘Obliteration Manifesto’, Yayoi Kusama stated, “My life is a dot lost among a million other dots”.  Now, in the wake of her solo show at the same location this year, her work stands amongst dots and spots as depicted by six prominent contemporary artists. Much like the solo show, this exhibition focuses primarily on the latter works of a theme begun in 1961; more specifically, three works all painted in 2008.

Mike Kelley, “Memory Ware Flat 27″ (2001). Via Gagosian Gallery.

Jeff Koons, “Waterfall Tree Rocks” (2008). Via Gagosian Gallery.

Damien Hirst, “Barium Cyuanamide-C” (2007). Via Gagosian Gallery.

In addition to Kusama’s paintings, the exhibition includes a painting from Damien Hirst’s ‘spot’ series. Before immersing animal carcasses in formaldehyde to create the ‘natural history’ series for which he is best known, Hirst painted spots directly onto the walls of  the docklands warehouse which hosted Freeze in 1988.  17 years later, it is estimated there are about 1,000 spot paintings around the world.

Roy Lichtenstein, “Entablature #4″ (1971). Via Gagosian Gallery.

All artists included in this exhibition are concerned not only with ‘the circle’, also on display is an obsession with repetition. This can be said of Roy Lichenstein’s contribution Entablature #4. Drawn from his ‘Entablature’ series, begun in 1971, the theme of mechanical reproduction and repetition is continued from the artist’s series Haystacks (1969). This painting, alongwith the entire ‘Entablature’ series, draws inspiration from Lichenstein’s photographs of entablatures of twentieth century façades in Lower Manhattan.

Steven Parrino, “Absence/Shift” (1990). Via Gagosian Gallery.

Piotr Uklanski, “Untitled (Carmen)” (2008). Via Gagosian Gallery.