until 26.05. | #1959ARTatBerlin | Galerie Nordenhake shows from 28th April the exhibition “Paintings” by the artist Stanley Whitney.
For his third solo show at Galerie Nordenhake Stanley Whitney created a series of new Paintings. In the distinct abstractions of New York-based artist Stanley Whitney colour itself becomes the subject of painting. The artist developed his concentrated practice over a long career, much of it spent under the radar until his widely acclaimed exhibition “Dance the Orange” at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2015 and last years presentation of his paintings at documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel.
Following the idea that the “space is in the colour” he merges the two fundamental categories of painting, colour and form. On square canvases he lays down eloquent blocks of colour, that sometimes overlap each other, bands of horizontal colour separate and at the same time connect these. His movement across the canvas runs from top left to bottom right. While starting from a standard structure, Whitney intuitively makes each of his painterly choices—colour, texture and shape—in response to what came before. At times the colour blocks grow to rectangular fields and become flatter, as if compressed, in the lower part of the canvas. They seem to breathe, to expand and contract. One colour field responds to the other, each differing in gesture and texture. Together they create a unique rhythm, a sound, sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, sometimes squeezed or shrill. The artist creates a visual “call-and-response” pattern, typical for jazz music. He composes a visual polyrhythm that bestows each work with a unique character and personality. Whitney compares the way of synthesising harmonies and dissonances in his paintings to saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s “playing in the cracks,” creating chord and discord, but always a resonant whole.
In his works on paper which are to some extent key for his paintings this aspect of improvisation becomes clearly evident. In particular his early pencil drawings, that seem like notational sketches for whirring free jazz sessions, make apparent how rhythm is created by the movements and dynamics within each block and their relationships among each other. Lyrical titles such as “James Brown’s Sacrifice to Apollo” (2008), “Goya’s Lantern” (2012), “Elephant Memory” (2014), “The Bottom of the Sky” (2008), “Other Colors I Forget” (2012) make palpable Whitney’s multifaceted references to music, art history and literature as well as his fine sense of poetry and humour. The artist’s painterly scores tell of a highly subjective emotionality, whilst opening a universal frame of reference that gives viewer’s immediate access.
Stanley Whitney was born in Philadelphia in 1946 and lives and works in New York and Solignano, Italy. His works have been featured in exhibitions since the early seventies. In 2015 the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York presented his major solo exhibition ‘Dance the Orange’. In 2016 he had a solo exhibition at Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth. Whitney participated in documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel (2017) and in ‘Utopia Station’ at the 50th Venice Biennial (2003). Among others he has been included in group exhibitions at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2017); Camden Arts Centre, London (2016); Logan Center for the Arts; Chicago and Contemporary Art Museum of Houston, Houston (both 2014), Belvedere, Vienna (2012), The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City (2008); Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach (2007); Art in General, New York (1998); Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania (1991); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1981) and Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield (1976). He is the recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship (1996) and Pollock-Krasner Fellowship (2002) and won the First Robert De Niro Sr. Prize in Painting (2011) and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Art Award (2010). Whitney’s work is included in public collections such as Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; The Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York.
Vernissage: Friday, 27th April 2018, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Exhibition period: Saturday, 28th April to Saturday, 26th May 2018
Artist Talk: Saturday, 28th April 2018, 3 p.m. Stanley Whitney in conversation with Monika Szewzcyk ((Author and Curator amongst others documenta 14)Zur Galerie Nordenhake
Image caption: Stanley Whitney, Studio view, 2018; Courtesy the artist and Galerie Nordenhake Berlin / Stockholm; Photo: Anne Patsch
Exhibition Paintings – Galerie Nordenhake | Contemporary Art – Kunst in Berlin | ART@Berlin