Barnaby Furnas, Jim Nutt and Eduardo Paolozzi
Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works on paper by Barnaby Furnas, Jim Nutt and Eduardo Paolozzi. This grouping of works highlights the artists’ intricate processes of mark making, lines, patterning, fragmentation, and at times vibrant use of color. Each artist imbues his work with themes borrowed from popular culture of their respective times, as well as influences of Surrealism, Cubism, and Pop.
Eduardo Paolozzi is best known as a pioneer of the Pop Art movement in Britain in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Similar to Furnas and Nutt, Paolozzi was fascinated by popular culture, and as a European especially that of America. He created scrapbooks of cutouts from magazines, comics and advertisements, as well as packaging from processed food, that developed into elaborate collages. Paolozzi’s series of screenprints entitled "Bunk" (1972), which refers to the American slang ‘bunkum’ for rubbish or nonsense, was based on original collages from 1947-52 and comments on the barrage of mass media in one’s daily visual landscape and its inconsequential nature. He also indicates one’s relationship to popular culture as symbiotic, reassembling imagery to craft a meaning of his own; a sort of time capsule of his era. Paolozzi used his collages to create subverted portraits representing contemporary figures of the 1940’s and 1950’s, as well as x-rated figurative scenes from 1953-1954. Paolozzi compresses his faces and figures, embellishing the collages with dark graphite lines and acrylic. Erotic detailing is layered atop seemingly quotidian imagery, rendering the works visually explicit through their sly additions.
Jim Nutt presents a selection of intricate, signature-styled graphite drawings, several of which are upon watercolor paper, further underlining the texture of their medium. In his earlier paintings of the 1960’s and 1970’s, Nutt painted dramatic scenes of fantastic, disfigured, fragmented, sexually charged bodies, using pop culture imagery from magazines and comic books, as well as influences of Cubism and Surrealism. In the late 1980’s, Nutt began to utilize the same dramatic synthesis to a much subtler affect; creating overall seemingly elegant portraits of women. These enigmatic portraits are delicately executed, from the deformed, vaguely suggestive noses, petal shaped nostrils, jagged ears, and asymmetrical eyes, to the meticulous cross hatching and fine patterning of the clothes and hair. Nutt’s refined use of the drawn line is highlighted in these works where the image is flattened and the negative space of the paper becomes part of the drawn image through impeccably delicate mark making.
In Barnaby Furnas’ new watercolors on paper, various states of human emotion and psychology are depicted; from the intimacy and ecstasy of his coupled lovers, to the subverted stoicism of his contemplative figures. In the series "The Way to Heaven", the matrices of lines and complex patterned background flatten the space in the manner of a Matisse interior, while simultaneously the central focus of entangled bodies appear as a fluid shape. In this newest series, Furnas employs a new line of rainbow coloring that underlines the explosions of ecstasy and dances brightly across the paper. Throughout Furnas’ work, the influence of comic books and video games is evident in the use of active lines, repetition and fragmentation. Known for employing a technique of fragmentation and patterning to convey a sense of motion or trajectory, whether it be a flashing spot light at a rock concert or a bullet tearing through human flesh in a Civil War scene, in these new portraits Furnas employs a similar method of division and repetition to create a more suspended image. The aggregate of Furnas’ energetic line and angular, staccato style, allows the realistic detail of traditional portraiture to begin to collapse into abstraction. Like Paolozzi, Furnas highlights areas of his figures with bright colors, alluding to both a rawness and a warm sensuality.
Whether in couplings or solitary figures, Furnas, Nutt and Paolozzi allude to a dissecting of their subject’s physiognomy, layering imagery with geometrical forms and patterning. As seen throughout the exhibition, the artists’ augmentation of repeated details and the strength of linear execution break down conventional spatial elements and figurative standards to create a dynamic synthesis of representation and abstraction.
This exhibition is presented in collaboration with David Nolan Gallery.