On the occasion of Alex Katz: Grass and Trees - a solo presentation of the artist's recent landscape paintings - renowned poet and writer John Yau joined art historian and literary critic Ivy Wilson in conversation to discuss the exhibition.
Alex Katz was approaching his 90th birthday when he began a new series of landscapes radically different from his earlier work. More loosely painted and expressively realized than any work to date, 'Grass and Trees' debuts large-scale paintings which draw inspiration from three motifs – grasses, roads, and trees. Prompted by the immediacy of nature outside his studio in Maine, these landscapes, like vignettes, are swift, evocative, and specific. While the “Road” and “Trees” paintings veer toward his signature graphic style, Katz’s “Grass” compositions are freely gestural, offering an engulfing sense of space.
As John Yau notes in his catalogue essay, "... the size of these paintings is immersive. They recall Pollock’s panoramic drip paintings, which ignored the canvas’s physical edges and seemed to extend beyond the painting’s actual limits. You are not looking at a landscape; you are in it.”
The gallery talk took place at Richard Gray Gallery's Gray Warehouse on Saturday, April 14 at 12 PM.
Video © Richard Gray Gallery.