Julian Schnabel

Frieze Masters

October 5 – 8, 2017
London

A suite of eight compositions executed in 1994, these historic abstract landscapes by Julian Schnabel have never been exhibited together until now. Painted in New York and in his open-air studio in Montauk, the catalyst for these paintings was the artist's trip to Japan when Schnabel became beguiled by the use of gradient colors in the design of Japanese calendars. Transposing that visual trope to monumentally scaled canvases, the artist created a large border on each picture plane on the ground of a pink-to-white spectrum. With a distinctive palette of pinks, whites, browns and greens, he disrupted the composition with gestural paint application -- he primarily used his fingers, hands and feet to build up the abstract forms that dominate the canvas. The once pristine margins of the canvas are frequently transgressed with the artist's footprints (indexes of Schnabel's process which often begins on the studio floor), the din of rain hammered into the surface pigments, or deliberate slashes of pigment that dynamically break the formal boundaries of the paintings. These works pronounce Schnabel's signature insistence on the physicality of his surfaces and are connected together by his unmistakable personal vision -- the audacity and freedom of his varied gestures and the unapologetic emotional inflection in all of his works. As Schnabel wrote in an attempt to locate his unique approach to making work, "feeling cannot be separated from intellect."

Text by Alison M. Gingeras 

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