CHRISTOPHER WOOL: SELECTED PAINTINGS
Stockholm: January 30 - March 14, 2015
Since the 1980s American artist Christopher Wool has made work that simultaneously critiques and supports painting: both as a practice and a medium. From his earliest abstract works made with enamel on aluminum to his more recent “word paintings” featuring stenciled block letters in bold black and white, Wool’s diverse oeuvre expands the possibilities of paint and painting by continually testing the medium's limits. The current exhibition at McCabe Fine Art brings together paintings from the 1990s through the 2000s. Featuring a select, but exemplary sample of work, this exhibition shows Wool reasserting the relevance of painting using a variety of techniques and styles.
The works comprising this intimate show are indicative of Wool’s diverse painterly practice in which he uses spray paint and silkscreen techniques on aluminum and canvas supports.
An untitled work from 1994 is an example of Wool’s use of enamel on aluminum—two “non-art” materials, which identify these works as objects in addition to paintings. Featuring a tangled network of thin lines crisscrossing the composition, this painting is an early demonstration of Wool’s spray-paint technique (a practice continued by the artist to this day.) Made nearly a decade later, Double Brown Nose and Untitled (Jazz Death), both from 2003, reprise the sprayed black lines on white background, but in a larger format and on linen. An important sub-genre in Wool’s oeuvre, the spray paint works show the artist using erasure and destruction to, counter intuitively, construct his compositions. Evoking associations ranging from graffiti and to the street art-inspired paintings of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Wool’s spray painted works suggest a game of hide and seek in which imagery is simultaneously obscured and revealed by the network of black lines. That which ostensibly hides the image is, in fact, the image. Meanwhile, the runny drips formed by the wet spray emphasize the material nature of the paint itself while pointing out certain limitations in terms of the artist’s control over his own artwork. Another ostensible act of destruction is apparent in Double Brown Nose, in which Wool erases portions of the painting. A nod to Robert Rauschenberg’s famous Erased de Kooning Drawing (1953), Wool’s rubbed-out and painted-over areas subvert the traditional practice of painting by using a reductive action to fill his composition.
Whether using text, as in many of his best-known works or abstract forms, Wool’s works assume the task of communication: in each case asking the viewer to reconsider the role of the painter and his paintings.
McCabe Fine Art
Noted art advisor, dealer and collector Paul Frank McCabe opened McCabe Fine Art in Stockholm, Sweden in 2013. An extension of his eighteen years of art market experience and connoisseurship, the beautifully renovated showroom in central Östermalm presents works by modern and contemporary masters as well as emerging talents. Through a program of curated, thematic and monographic exhibitions, McCabe Fine Art brings new voices to Scandinavia’s dynamic international art scene.