Salon 004: Philip Pearlstein: Paintings 1990 – 2017
17th January – 25th March 2018
Down in the deep depths of the vast Saatchi gallery lies this absolute gem of an exhibition. You could be forgiven for thinking that Freud had come back to life from the looks of the gaunt, fleshy nudes. But this is Philip Pearlstein – a 94 year old American veteran of the art world. And in fact, his artistic heroes come in the form of Piero della Francesca, Mondrian and Matisse, despite being heavily associated with all-American art history having once shared a studio with Andy Warhol and practiced Abstract Expressionism until the 1960s.
From the 1960s onwards, Pearlstein’s work took a turn for what we see today – expansive and playful canvases depict nude women lounging in his studio amongst an array of seemingly random ‘props’, likening their pale flesh to the inanimate objects that surround them. The perspectival compression achieved with some masterful cropping enhances the gauntness of his nude sitters and the strangeness of the scene, and yet imbues it with an unsettling sense of stark reality. Look for a little bit longer, and you will notice that this cropping occurs in every picture, with figures rarely shown absolutely complete- a nod to a very specific American Modernist photographic tradition which forces the viewer to become an active participant as they imagine what lies beyond the canvas.
SALON, Saatchi Gallery’s new project space has been created to present the work of leading international artists who have had limited exposure in the UK. Located in its own self-contained space at the Saatchi Gallery, this new venture will collaborate with galleries and artists’ estates in selling exhibitions, and is directed by Philippa Adams, Senior Director, Saatchi Gallery.
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