LYNCH THAM is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by New York artist Walter Robinson.
Known for his figurative work, Robinson has created a new series of paintings based on common fashion promotional photographs, referenced from a variety of sources: department store flyers, daily newspapers and marketing emails, Macy's, Target, JC Penney, Lands' End and Bergdorf Goodman advertisements.
A departure from his cinematic figure paintings from the 80s, the figures in his new body of work are theatrical, in Michael Fried's sense, and address the viewer directly. They are selling; they interpellate the subject in a dynamic of exchange – far from being passive, they reach out. They are utopian: they propose a happy, healthy and harmonious world. Their designs converge with motifs of modernist abstraction: stripes, patterns, forms and colors to reach a leveling effect.
The paintings segment and define their audience by gender, age and social role, with an implicit address to women, or to men, or to mothers, or to professionals. They are seasonal, identifiable as "summer" or "winter." They contain markers of age and youth, of boyhood or girlhood.
In some of Robinson’s work, the subject is absent. A painting of a pair of galoshes cites Van Gogh's famous painting of a pair of weathered shoes. This work has been the focus of a series of art historical and academic philosophical discussions, featured in Heidegger's 1935, “Origin of the Work of Art,” Meyer Schapiro's 1968, “Still Life as a Personal Object,” and Derrida's 1978, “Restitution of the Truth in Pointing.” The smooth, new, red Lands' End galoshes reminisce about Heidegger's notions of a universal essence, Schapiro's idea of the artist's presence in the work, and Derrida's fancies of the interlacing of things and products, of insides and outsides.
Walter Robinson’s career as an artist started in New York in 1980, where he currently lives and works. Exhibitions include, The Museum of Modern Art, PS1, The New Museum, Swiss Institute, The Drawing Center, among others. Robinson was also the founder and editor-in-chief of Artnet Magazine from 1996 to 2012.