GO SEE – New York: “New Sculpture and Works on Paper” At Matthew Marks through July 1st 2011

May 24th, 2011

0 – 9, recto (2010) by Jasper Johns, via Matthew Marks Gallery

New works by Jasper Johns are currently on display at New York’s Matthew Marks Gallery in Chelsea. Open through July 1st, “New Sculpture and Works on Paper” fills three galleries with Johns’ recent works from the past five years.

Jasper Johns works primarily in painting and printmaking and is often considered to be the bridge between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art. Perhaps most famous work is Flag (1954-1955) a mixed-media painting of the United State’s flag. He is particularly known for using repetitive letters and numbers with the effect of reconsidering the meaning of everyday symbols in the context of a work of art.

All but one of the new sculptures use Johns’ grid of numerals 0 through 9. Each of the sculptures is first made in wax; the surface is then altered using a variety of textures, and added elements and impressions such as texts or his own hand. Johns then casts them in aluminum, bronze, or silver, covering the finished surface with a unique patina.

More text and images after the jump…

0-9, detail (2008), by Jasper Johns, via Matthew Marks Gallery

The sculptures are extremely textured and, in spite of the patinas, their surfaces are quite tactile. In 0-9, from 2008, Johns not only overlaps the impressions of keys and texts, but also divides up each of the numerals so that each number is a collage of multiple components. While the individual elements may be fragmented, the uniformed patina unifies the surface.

0-9, recto (2008) by Jasper Johns, via Matthew Marks Gallery

His twenty works on paper—all exhibited in the same gallery—are based upon three earlier pieces he made on Shrinky Dink, a plastic that, when baked, shrinks significantly. Here, his use of color directly contrasts with the uniform silvers and golds of the sculptures. The larger works all employ similar motifs: profiles, vases, cartoonish faces and direct allusions to works by Picasso. They are studies in layering both of imagery and the history behind the representations. In Johns’ Untitled (2010), the coupling of a red profile with white stars on a blue background subtly references his Flag. In the centre, are two identical Picasso-esque figures recalling those in his Guernica.

Untitled (2010) by Jasper Johns, via Matthew Marks Gallery

Untitled (2010) by Jasper Johns, via Matthew Marks Gallery

Jasper Johns’ “New Sculpture and Works on Paper” is on display at New York’s Matthew Marks Gallery through July 1st, 2011.

– G. Linden

Related Links

Exhibition Page [New Sculpture and Works on Paper]
“Sculpture in High Relief” [The New York Times]