The people I paint don’t exist. The only thing that is real is the painting. It’s not like a photograph where there’s another reality that existed at a certain moment in time in the past. The image is only happening right now and this is the only version of it. To me, that’s fascinating. It’s an eternal moment.
Gagosian Gallery is pleased to present new paintings by John Currin.
Currin’s depictions of the female figure enchant and repel, often in equal measure. Labeled as mannerist, caricaturist, radical conservative or satirist, Currin continues to confound expectations and evade categorization. While his meticulous and virtuosic technique is indebted to the history of classical painting, the images themselves engage startlingly contemporary ideas about the representation of the human figure. With inspirations as diverse as Old Master portraits, pin-ups, and mid-twentieth century B-movies, Currin continues to paint ideational yet challengingly perverse images of female subjects, from lusty nymphs to more ethereal feminine prototypes. With his uncanny ability to locate the point at which the beautiful and the grotesque are held in perfect balance, he continues to produce subversive portraits of idiosyncratic women in conventional settings. The latest additions to his cast include the demure Constance Towers and the extravagant Mademoiselle, as well as scenes of bourgeois erotic abandon, such as The Women of Franklin Street.
A fully illustrated catalogue is forthcoming, featuring an interview with the artist by Angus Cook and short fiction essays by Wells Tower.
John Currin was born in Boulder, Colorado, in 1962 and obtained a B.F.A from Carnegie Mellon University (1984) and an M.F.A from Yale University (1986). Major institutional exhibitions include “John Currin: Works on Paper,” the Des Moines Art Center (2003) (traveled to the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado); “John Currin,” the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2003) (traveled to the Serpentine Gallery, London and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, through 2004). His work is represented in major institutional collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Tate Collection, London; and Centre Pompidou, Paris.
John Currin lives and works in New York.