Artist Alex Katz is still painting daily at the age of 92, working at an impressively quick pace that sees the artist continuing to produce his elegant, smooth style of portraiture and landscape across a wide array of subjects and scenes. Acclaimed for his iconic portraits and impressionistic landscape depictions, the artist has inspired generations of painters. For his most recent exhibition at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in Harlem, the Brooklyn-born artist has compiled an impressive number of pieces, exploring the expanding reaches of his world and his painterly abilities.
As posed by the gallery the exhibition tells the story of a year in Katz’s painted-life, observing landscapes from the edge of his home in Maine, and pulling the changing colors and curvatures of the land around him into an expanding universe of icons and images. This is familiar land, which Katz has painted over and again, returning frequently to the gentle slopes of the earth and the serpentine pathways of the leaves as they drift down from the sky. This style continues here. The paintings are sublime scenes, but leave little space for the viewer to rest, rather exploring a sort of vivid minimalism. The sun bursts against a spruce tree, while elsewhere the first reaches of day spill out from a thicket of trees. Katz is as brash and bold as ever, delving into these scenes and pulling their essential energy, the bursts of color and form, light and space itself into the landscape and through the canvas to the viewer’s eye.
Katz’s hand is bluntly material, but equally interested in a distinct sense of the sublime. His depictions of light and dark space carry a sense of mystery, but equally dive into these spaces of ominous, unspecified energy for a sense of life and change, flux as intimate directly through color and negative space.
The artists’s work is on view through August 3rd.
– D. Creahan
Alex Katz [Gavin Brown’s]