Marlborough is pleased to present its first New York solo gallery exhibition with London-based artist Ansel Krut.
At first blush, Ansel Krut’s paintings might be considered quite old-fashioned in their making and appearance. Modest in scale and loosely taking portraiture and still-life as their subject, they could have conceivably been produced almost anywhere in the West in the last 100 years. While familiar, they are not terribly similar to any specific artist or movement. Instead, the work pays homage to (and wreaks havoc with) the entirety of painting and its conventions in a way that seems appropriate in an age of endless streaming imagery.
While giving an initial impression of casual, wacky improvisation, each work is first carefully composed and solidified in a small preparatory watercolor. Image, color, figure and ground, line and volume are sorted out in this stage and then transcribed in oil paint to the canvas where texture and gesture complete the work. It is here that Krut ignites this peculiar content with a uniquely masterful paint handling. His touch is just light enough, showing a restraint that his subjects seem to lack and a commitment to formal basics. Cones, planes, and other simple shapes come together to create figures and faces that seem to mimic the simple tricks taught in drawing classes, and the flowers, models and bottles depicted seem to carry with them the self-awareness of their conventionality. These subjects often seem to be wearing disguises, as if they know they are clichés that have been perverted by the hand of their creator.