Mary Boone Gallery will open at its Fifth Avenue location From the Liz Taylor Series, an exhibition of paintings by Kathe Burkhart curated by Piper Marshall.
Kathe Burkhart has painted depictions of Elizabeth Taylor for more than thirty years. Both performance and working method, Burkhart’s paintings comprise a lively and imaginative catalogue from the many films of the screen star. This exhibition features a selection of the large-scale works created between 1982 and 2017. In each painting the artist takes a multipart approach, first by presenting Taylor in different archetypal guises: the femme fatale, the proper lady, the damsel in distress.
Carefully rendered in white paint, the body directs our attention, the blankness providing a screen for viewer identification and projection. Burkhart interrupts this artificial construct by adding direct, critical phrases, often profane, onto the canvas. This layer causes one to zero in on the surface of the works where mixed objects — some from Burkhart’s life — such as letters, wallpaper, printed fabrics, fake fur and eviction notices contribute to the assemblage.
Braiding together the idealized, mythic figure with the deeply personal, the paintings of Burkhart offer a double chronicle and critique. The text and relics of lived life push against the image of the Hollywood ideal. The compositions serve to confront the viewer with the underbelly of normative, heterosexual conventions. These paintings innovate their medium by inflecting appropriation with the unprecedented perspectives of autobiographical narrative.
Kathe Burkhart is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who studied at the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia. Her works have been exhibited in national and international venues, including the 1993 Venice Biennale; S.M.A.K. Museum, Ghent; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase; Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff; Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna; Groninger Museum, Groningen; and Museum Helmond, Helmond. Survey shows have been held at Participant, Inc., New York (2003); MoMA PS1, New York (2007-2008); and Fri-Art, Centre d’Art de Fribourg, Fribourg (2016). Recently, she has exhibited at the New Museum, New York; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. She is currently included in the group exhibition The American Dream: American Realism 1945-2017 at the Kunsthalle Emden, Emden.