Victoria Miro is delighted to announce an exhibition of new works by Barnaby Furnas, the New York-based artist's first show with the gallery.
The active moment versus painting's innate stillness has been a central concern of Barnaby Furnas' work over the past decade. Pitched between depicted action and the act of painting - paint's illusory potential and its materiality - Furnas entwines history with art history in provocative combinations of narrative and form.
The first and last day comprises two distinct yet closely related bodies of work which bookend all of time, encompassing origin and the end of the world. Employing grand religious subjects as familiar narratives for his works, Furnas has developed a suite of six large-scale paintings presented in the downstairs gallery which depict the Creation myth, while upstairs, a series of contemplative near-abstractions evoke the vast desolation of the final flood.
Process is essential to Furnas' compositions, with content following form as the artist endeavors to make paintings that are analogous in their construction to how they function in the world. "A painting is interesting to me to the degree that I can integrate myself in it's making" says Furnas "the paintings are at their most engaging when they are making themselves". In the Creation series, Furnas' technique integrates wholly with concept, as his method of pouring paint along a grooved surface on the canvas introduces gravity into the work in a physical and literal sense, as the imagery depicts the sequence of events leading to the Fall of Man.
The flood paintings presented in the upper gallery are an extensive series of monochrome works of identical size, each bisected with a lateral line that provides the effect of a singular horizon consistent throughout the installation. Here, Furnas' water-dispersal method of production is indebted to the Abstract Expressionists' experimentation with paint and gesture, while his technique of 'flooding' the canvas with pigment aligns conceptually with the natural phenomenon the works represent. The first and last day underscores Furnas' interest in spectacle and the sublime, in time and its relation to making and viewing painting, and his on going exploration of painterly technique as a kind of hyper or vivid realism to communicate human experience.
Barnaby Furnas was born in Philadelphia, PA in 1973 and lives and works in New York. He has had solo exhibitions in recent years at the Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth, Texas (2012), Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver (2009) and at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2005), with work featured in group exhibitions at venues including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2011), the Ullens Center, Beijing (2010), the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas (2008), Deste Foundation, Athens (2007), Kunsthalle Wien (2007), Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai (2007), The Royal Academy of Arts, London (2006), and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2003). Furnas was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Victoria Miro is delighted to present seven new sculptures by Yayoi Kusama alongside a series of twelve recent paintings.
These sculptures are the latest in Kusama's ongoing Accumulations series of works, originated in the 1960s, in which Kusama covered the surfaces of everyday objects, items of clothing, furniture, boats - even entire rooms - with hand-sewn phallic protrusions. Kusama worked both in monochrome and highly colourful materials, often painting the protrusions in her signature polka-dots and other motifs for which she has since become universally recognised.
The sculptures in this exhibition recall in size some of the early domestically-scaled Accumulations, for which Kusama covered such things as ironing boards and travel valises in the stuffed-fabric protuberances, yet the works on view here are painted in the style that has come to characterize Kusama's most recent paintings. Incorporating the aesthetic vocabulary of widely opened eyes, polka-dots, nets, and organic shapes that have defined Kusama's seven-decades-long career, the sculptures appear as though Kusama's images have been released from the canvases they are surrounded by and have organized themselves into three-dimensional forms.
Kusama's preoccupation with the infinite and sublime to be found in pattern and repetition date back to her earliest paintings from the 1950s. However, it is in these most recently developed works - which encapsulate the surreal and the instinctual within the pop and the decorative - that we find an extension of Kusama's practice into her ninth decade that is as fresh and provocative as ever.