Painting Between the Lines

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Study for Night Music for Raptors, 2010 © Courtesy of the Artist and CCA Wattis Institute
© Courtesy of CCA Wattis Institute
© Courtesy of the Artist and CCA Wattis Institute
The Blue Moon Beam Gatherer, 2010 © Courtesy the artist and Pace Gallery, New York
Painting Between the Lines
Curated by: Jens Hoffmann

Kent and Vicki Logan Galleries
360 Kansas Street (between 16th and 17th streets)
San Francisco, CA 94103
October 4th, 2011 - December 17th, 2011
Opening: October 4th, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Potrero District
Tue-Fri 12-7; Sat 12--5


San Francisco, Calif., September 8, 2011--The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts will present the exhibition Painting Between the Lines from October 4 through December 17, 2011, in the Logan Galleries of California College of the Arts, 1111 Eighth Street, San FranciscoThe exhibition is curated by Jens Hoffmann, director of the Wattis Institute. It is free and open to the public, with an opening reception on Tuesday, October 4, from 6-8 p.m.

With Painting Between the Lines, the Wattis Institute continues its investigation into the relationship between literature and art. Fourteen contemporary artists have been commissioned to create paintings based on written descriptions of artworks in historical and contemporary novels. Even though writing and painting have been connected throughout history, literature has of late become a diminished subject in the medium of painting, which has looked more to history, society, and politics (and to itself) for inspiration. By reintroducing literature as a viable subject for painting, this exhibition examines the relationship between these two artistic fields, their different modes of representation, the various ways texts can be translated into images, and how both media, in unique ways, elicit responses from the viewer/reader.

Through an examination of how contemporary artists look at storytelling, literature, and writing as expressions of individual thought,Painting Between the Lines provides a look into the state of painting today and attests to the vitality of the medium, presenting some of its most innovative practitioners. The featured artists work across a number of different forms and styles and are primarily based in Europe and the United States. The selection of the novels was central to the commissioning process. Many of these new paintings have been envisaged in exhaustive detail. Many reflect the texture of the novels, details of the text, or pivotal characters or plot elements. Even the most vivid text descriptions may still remain open to interpretation, as the works in this show demonstrate.

The exhibition space for Painting Between the Lines features a unique architecture that is designed to evoke the shape of an open book. Each painting will be displayed with the text passage that inspired it and a copy of the first edition of the book the text is drawn from. This will allow the visitor to have an intimate experience, much like the act of reading itself; he or she can observe the painting while reading the writer's description of the artwork and see an actual copy of the book the text was first published in.

The exhibition catalogue will feature images of all the newly commissioned paintings, the relevant text passages, installation images, and an essay by the curator, Jens Hoffmann, on the relationship between painting and literature.

Laylah Ali 
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain (1924)

Michaël Borremans 
Günter Grass, The Tin Drum (1959)

Marcel Dzama 
Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore (2002)

Cecilia Edefalk 
August Strindberg, The Red Room (1879)

Jordan Kantor 
Albert Camus, Exile and the Kingdom (1957)

Laura Owens 
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (1953)

Clare Rojas 
Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past, Volume 1: Swann’s Way (1913)

Wilhelm Sasnal
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1982) 

Maaike Schoorel 
Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca (1938)

Norbert Schwontkowski 
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891)

Raqib Shaw 
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

Fred Tomaselli 
Samuel Beckett, Watt (1953)

Michael van Ofen 
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose (1984)

Jakub Julian Ziolkowski 
Sándor Márai, Embers (1942)