With a consistency that can almost be regarded as mechanical, 2013 marks another show by Belgian painter Luc Tuymans at David Zwirner in New York. Since joining the gallery in 1994, the Belgian painter has held solo exhibitions in the gallery every two years, and is currently presenting a new series of thematically interwoven works that expound on his sparsely colored, figurative approach, titled The Summer is Over.
On view in Zwirner’s one-room gallery on 19th Street, Tuyman’s new series has a distinctively cohesive feel. Drawing on the evocatively autumnal title, each painting bears a sense of faded warmth, depicting domestic objects and scenery (including a single self-portrait) in a soft pale, white. Light figures heavily as the subject here, tracing its departure across the broad surfaces of the canvases, or flooding the subjects in a cold illumination that does little to offer comfort or vibrancy to his subjects.
Continuing his unique approach to figuration, The Summer is Over turns personal perspective into externalized works. Close-ups of Tuyman’s leg or jacket become studied examinations in shading, illustrating the movement of light across the subjects in question. In Zoo, the artist captures the diffuse light reflected off a large window pane with a range of soft yellows and blues, all while rendering the cement-work below in abstracted, sharp brushstrokes and smears of paint.
In another work, titled Wall, the sunlight seems to lack the power to even enter the room Tuyman’s depicts, collecting in a small pool beneath the window while the rest of the scenery is drenched in darkness. The structures and scenery become a testament to the waning of light and warmth, landscapes where the changing of seasons plays itself out in earnest.
Frequently cited as a powerful force in the return of painting to international prominence, Luc Tuymans has been invited to show work at the 2001 Venice Biennale and dOCUMENTA festival, and his paintings have inspired a wealth of critical writing and evaluation. The Summer is Over also marks the release of Tuyman’s new book, Luc Tuymans: Exhibitions at David Zwirner 1994-2012, cataloguing the artist’s nearly 20-year partnership with gallery, and the ongoing evolution of his creative language.
The Summer is Over is on view until Febryary 9th.
Luc Tuymans, 11PM (2011), via David Zwirner