Paul Kasmin Gallery is pleased to present Kolors, an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Kenny Scharf, including ten new paintings and three large-scale sculptures, on view at 515 West 27th Street. The paintings, inspired by Color Field masterworks, deceptively present themselves as backdrops for the sculptures. Upon closer inspection, the tonally unified paintings beckon the viewer into vibrant, other-worldly, biomorphic atmospheres composed of a variety of shapes, dimensions and details. The three never-before-seen sculptures revisit the classic icons of Scharf’s repertoire of symbolic imagery developed over thirty years. Scharf’s exhibition possesses a unique energy and exuberance, highlighted by both his monochromatic cosmic paintings and nostalgic sculptures. A fully illustrated catalog, published in collaboration with Standard Press and Damiani, will accompany the exhibition.
Two weeks prior to the opening of Kolors, Scharf's large-scale sculpture “Squirtz”(2013) will debut outdoors in The plaza at The Standard, Highline March 15 - April 1, 2013.
Scharf’s use of airbrush-like oil and acrylic paint embodies the influence of street culture within contemporary art practices that he helped establish. Scharf’s inspiration stems from the past, the future, nature, and the cosmic world of inner and outer space. In his sculptures, Scharf makes use of his iconic imagery, freezing expressive cartoon-like faces in curvilinear three-dimensional reflective forms. Scharf presents larger-than-life versions of three seminal characters from his pantheon of cartoon-like creatures. Two sculptures, Squirzt and Red Scary Guy, present an embodiment of anger and happiness whereas Totemotiki climbs twelve feet to the ceiling, stacking characters that showcase the duality and interconnectedness of human emotions.
Kenny Scharf was born in 1958 in Hollywood, California and rose to prominence alongside his friends and contemporaries in the 1980s, most notably, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Scharf was a pioneer among artists who integrated street culture into the contemporary art mainstream, incorporating pop and comic imagery in his sculpture, installation and paintings. His love of popular culture recalls his life-long fascination with television and his early exposure to the medium as a child. Scharf lived and worked in New York City as a young artist, eager to merge the high and lowbrow, the fantastic and the imaginary. Scharf ultimately established himself as a master of iconic imagery within the field of contemporary art. Scharf’s work is included in numerous public and private collections and has been exhibited internationally at museums and institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Eli Broad Foundation, MOCA Los Angeles and the Stedelijik Museum. Scharf has continued to pioneer unique projects like his Cosmic Cavern— a black light disco installation that was first exhibited at the 1985 Whitney Biennial and inspired his Cosmic Cavern A GoGo disco party, held in the basement of a Brooklyn warehouse from 2008-. In 2010, Scharf collaborated with Tony Goldman and The Hole to create an expansive outdoor mural on the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery. He has showcased his unique spray-can paintings on many roll-up storefront shutters throughout Manhattan as part of a public art project by the Mediacy Group’s Gatescapes program. In the spring of 2011, his work was featured in Art in the Streets at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Scharf lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
For more information contact: Nick Olney: Nick@paulkasmingallery.com / Bethanie Brady: Bethanie@paulkasmingallery.com