Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition STRANGE WORLD, an eclectic collection of Andy Warhol's blotted-line drawings created between 1948 and 1959. A separate exhibition, A PRIVATE DRAWING BOOK, will feature twelve of Warhol's handsome pen-and-ink drawings at 511 West 27th Street.
In STRANGE WORLD, Warhol's preference for the deliberately incomplete or unresolved image coupled with unpredictable trajectories of color evoke palpable tensions of presence and absence and push the fragmentary nature of Warhol's signature broken line technique to the point of near abstraction. A familiar cast from Warhol's commercial art and illustrated books--friends, lovers, small children, and the anonymous faces of office workers--are presented in concert with charged paper surfaces. The experimental nature of the work is evident as is the presence of the artist's hand. Large areas of color, either amorphous marbled oil or broadly painted applications of gouache challenge the delicate, broken contours of either a solitary figure or an intimate grouping. Warhol, who regularly deployed eccentric perspectives in his graphic work, also seeks new means of visual entry into the image. When he abandons the center of the pictorial field and places the figure along the paper's margins, the result is a provocative scenario in which the body's faint outline yields to the dynamic intensity of the ground.
In some drawings, the freely applied color overlaps or even overwhelms the figure, creating a surreal sense of dislocation and irrationality. For others, color adheres to contour, but the figures themselves and their intentions remain ambiguously defined. Interactions between the figures, however, are rendered with Warhol's signature attentiveness to the pictorial expressiveness of the outlined body. The touch of hands and tentative smiles suggest, if not a complete story, a tender, hopeful mood. Telling details, like Homberg hats and Peter Pan collars, historically place the figures within the conservative confines of the Eisenhower era. But the repeated motif of two men on the point of a kiss underscores the complex psychological territory Warhol approached through his graphic explorations.
STRANGE WORLD features some of Warhol's most intriguing and inventive works on paper and show Warhol, a committed draftsman, extending the artistic and expressive range of his distinctive graphic line. The result is a body of work that is eerie, compelling, and revelatory.
A fully-illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, including an essay by Todd Alden.
For additional inquiries and or images, contact Tayo Ogunbiyi, [email protected]