John Currin, Mademoiselle, 2009. All images via Gagosian Gallery.
On view at Gagosian Gallery’s Madison Avenue venue is an exhibition of new and recent paintings by John Currin. Best known for his provocative, realist pictures inspired by Old Master works and vintage Danish pornography, Currin has expanded his figural repertory of female nudes to include satirical aristocratic portraits and mannerist re-imaginings of advertisements from Cosmopolitan.
Currin’s canvases present rich art historical references infused alternately with eroticism and humor. Working in the European tradition of representational oil paintings, he depicts thoroughly-modern subject matter tinged with Academic details and motifs. His work reveals a preoccupation with the female form and with women at various stages of life. His wife Rachel Feinstein often acts as his model, and can be recognized in a variety of iterations throughout his compositions.
In a recent interview with the New York Observer, Currin revealed that he produces roughly 8-10 paintings annually, and had spent nearly six years preparing for this exhibition. He noted that Hot Pants, an unusual foray into male-dominated subject matter, had been a particularly intensive and exciting creative process. On the frequent characterization of his work in terms of the grotesque and Kitsch, he stated that “I like when things begin grotesque and end beautiful.”
In 2003, the Whitney Museum hosted a major mid-career retrospective of the artist’s work. “I think I’ve become much more of a perfectionist since then,” Currin told the Observer. “I know I’ve gotten better, and I know I’ve gotten slower and a little bit less impulsive as an artist. I think my work is a little less funny, which has good and bad aspects, but I think it’s a little more solemn.”
The exhibition will remain on view at 980 Madison Avenue through December 23, 2010.
John Currin at Gagosian [Official Site]
John Currin’s Starry Night at Gagosian [Vogue]
Flesh Perspective [The New York Observer]
Charlie Finch on John Currin [Artnet Magazine]
John Currin at Gagosian Gallery [Huffington Post]