Wakefield – Dana Schutz at The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery Through January 26th, 2014

January 19th, 2014


Dana Schutz, Yawn 2 (2012), Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

At The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England, is the first solo show in the UK for young artist Dana Schutz. Mostly made up of new paintings and drawings, the exhibition includes 20 vibrantly colored works depicting absurd, hypothetical situations.

Dana Schutz, Piano in the Rain (2012), Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

Born in 1976, Schutz grew up in a suburb of Detroit, and currently lives and works in New York. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture residency program, and later graduated with a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from Columbia University in 2002. She is known for her textured canvases layered with tactile brushwork, often employing dark humor and satirizing the human condition.

Dana Schutz, “Hop,” 2012 Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

The works in the exhibition are both humorous and sad, focusing on themes such as hopelessness, loss of control, anti-social behavior, and human incapabilities (as well as incapabilities). The images could be compared to “unfortunate snapshots” of humans in their most vulnerable moments, however significant or insignificant these inopportune situations might be. She uses exaggeration to point out the highly emotional weight humans place on these moments of instability, hyperbolizing the “horror of embarrassment,” and perhaps speaking to the fact that these situations are a part of everyday life for every person.

Dana Schutz, Heroin in the Wind (2012) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery
Dana Schutz, Heroin in the Wind (2012) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

Interestingly enough, the hyperkinetic, often frightening images are balanced by a relatively staid expression by each of Schutz’s characters.  Her subjects frequently have blank faces or minimal expressions on their face, a striking counterpoint that perfectly underscores the gravity of her images, and strikes at the parallel’s between feeling and observing, living and expression.

Dana Schutz (Installation View) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery
Dana Schutz (Installation View) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

A number of Schutz’s works are on display in the Saatchi Gallery, and one work entitled How we cured the plague (2007), is a part of the permanent collection of the Mart Museum in Italy. Originally represented by Zach Feuer Gallery for the first 9 years of her career, she now regularly exhibits work at the Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York and at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin.

Dana Schutz (Installation View) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery
Dana Schutz (Installation View) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

The exhibition currently on view at The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery opened on October 12, 2013, and, after it closes on January 26, will move to Kenstnergesellschaft in Hannover, Germany from February 14 through April 20, 2014.

Dana Schutz, Building the Boat While Sailing, (2012) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

Dana Schutz, Building the Boat While Sailing, (2012) Courtesy Hepworth Wakefield Gallery

—E. Baker

Related Links:
Exhibition Page [The Hepworth Wakefield Gallery]