New York – George Condo: “Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions” at Skarstedt Gallery Through December 20th, 2014

December 17th, 2014

George Condo, Lost at Sea (2014), via Art Observed
George Condo, Lost at Sea (2014), via Art Observed

George Condo is currently presenting a new body of work, on view at Skarstedt Gallery‘s recently opened Chelsea exhibition space, titled Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions.  Decamping to his studio in East Hampton, Long Island, this summer the artist has produced a series of paintings that marks a noted departure from his most recent exhibitions.

George Condo, Shattered Heart (2014), via Art Observed
George Condo, Shattered Heart (2014), via Art Observed

The works on view are some of Condo’s more vivid in recent memory, a notable point for an artist whose work has so often explored a series of themes and variations with regards to his typically vivid, cubist-referencing portraits.  Here, Condo’s hand is distinctly present, but the artist attempts to push his style by a series of deconstructions and revisionary methods, crossing out portions, scraping his canvases’ surfaces, and allowing the works’s rapid pace of construction to leave traces of material across the composition.

George Condo (Installation View), via Skarstedt
George Condo, Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions (Installation View), via Skarstedt

Works are slashed to pieces with errant brushstrokes, or covered over in copious amounts of paint, a lack of restraint that has rarely been characteristic of Condo’s work.  In Beginnings, for instance, the artist completely obscures his original figure, leaving a single eye, reminiscent of a Magritte canvas, peering out from under the mess of black.  The destabilized nature of the work constantly brings the viewer back to the eye, a single recognizable object in a floating slur of color.

George Condo, Double Heads on Red (2014), via Art Observed
George Condo, Double Heads on Red (2014), via Art Observed

George Condo, Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions (Installation View), via Skarstedt
George Condo, Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions (Installation View), via Skarstedt

While the work occasionally seems to wander into simple abstract expressionism, a number of pieces in the exhibition much stronger for Condo’s experimentation. Slashes of vivid color, each with various layers of dilution and marks where wet paint was spread by contact with other materials, collide with harsh strokes of oil stick, all set off against the artist’s more familiar faces (which are, admittedly, much less labored here).

The exhibition on view at Skarstedt closes on December 20th.

George Condo (Installation View), via Skarstedt
George Condo, Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions (Installation View), via Skarstedt

George Condo (Installation View), via Skarstedt
George Condo, Double Heads / Black Paintings / Abstractions (Installation View), via Skarstedt

Read more:
George Condo at Skarstedt [Skarstedt Gallery]
“George Condo Creates Portraits in Action [New York Times]”
“George Condo Paints Floating Eyes, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Alien Forms for His New Exhibition” [Complex]