I don't think I'm as witty in painting as I used to be, partly because I don't have to be, because I can do more things just with light, color, and form. I'm less beholden to games with metaphors. Figurative painting does not seem as doomed to failure as it did then, so I'm painting less about that. - John Currin
Gagosian is pleased to announce John Currin's first painting exhibition in Paris.
Currin's ambitious paintings seduce, repel, surprise, and puzzle. His masterful technique is achieved through the scrutiny and emulation of the compositional devices, graphic rhythms and refined surfaces of sixteenth and seventeenth century Northern European painting, while his eroticized subjects exist at odds with the popular dialogue and politics of contemporary art. With inspirations as diverse as Old Master portraits, pin-ups, pornography, and B-movies, Currin paints ideational yet challengingly perverse images of women, from lusty nymphs and dour matrons to more ethereal feminine prototypes. Consistent throughout his oeuvre is his search for the point at which the beautiful and the grotesque are held in perfect balance.
Currin's latest paintings present an increased complexity of background treatment. In Tapestry (2013), a casually dressed modern woman is portrayed in his signature baroque style; her torn jeans and bohemian, peasant-style blouse contrast with the elaborate manner in which she is painted. Her exquisitely sharp, brightly colored figure stands out within a fluid, grisaille-like setting of floral patterns, light fabrics, and blurry bodies joined in sexual ecstasy. Conflating a heady mix of historic technique, humor and fantasy, Currin continues to provoke and titillate.
John Currin was born in 1962 in Boulder, Colorado, and lives and works in New York. His work is represented in museum collections worldwide, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Art Institute of Chicago; Des Moines Art Center; Tate Collection, London; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. Major museum exhibitions include "John Currin: Works on Paper," Des Moines Art Center (2003, traveled to Aspen Art Museum); "John Currin," Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2003, traveled to Serpentine Gallery, London; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, through 2004); "John Currin," DHC/ART, Montreal (2011); and "John Currin meets Cornelis van Haarlem," Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2011-12).
All images: John Currin, courtesy Gagosian Gallery, photography by Rob McKeever.