Alex Katz, Emma Kay, Ed Pien, Antoni Tàpies October 3rd – November 8th 2019

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Galeria Toni Tàpies is pleased to present a new exhibition of work on paper, revisiting artists that have accompanied us throughout our trajectory. From different perspectives, the artists we present have rediscovered drawing and work on paper. On one hand, Tàpies, who worked daily on drawing and reached levels of magnificence where so little tells us so much. Emma Kay, on the other hand, with her specific work on memory tells us a lot more in what is missing than in what she actually shows.

And if with Alex Katz his works on paper are fundamental in the preparation of his paintings, and where the abstraction and minimal reduction of the reality that surrounds him makes it beautiful, clear and elegant, Ed Pien and his folds and repetitions as an important part of the creative process bring us closer to a new field where the oneiric takes shape.

On Paper also wants to present a variety of techniques and approaches used by the artists to create different kind of images. Through their explorations, they have gone beyond the classical intervention with pencil, ink, paint on traditional paper, and opened up to new possibilities and meanings.

Alex Katz was born 1927 to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, NY, as the son of an émigré who had lost a factory he owned in Russia to the Soviet revolution. In 1928 the family moved to ST. Albans, Queens, where Katz grew up.

From 1946 to 1949 Katz studied at The Cooper Union in New York, and from 1949 to 1950 he studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine. Skowhegan exposed him to painting from life, which would prove pivotal in his development as a painter and remains a staple of his practices today. Katz explains that Skowhegan’s plein air painting gave him “a reason to devote my life to painting”. Katz has admitted to destroying a thousand paintings during his first ten years as a painter in order to find his style. Since the 1950s, he worked to create art more freely in the sense that he tried to paint “faster than [he] can think.” His works seem simple, but according to Katz they are more reductive, which is fitting to his personality. “(The) one thing I don’t want to do is things already done. As for particular subject matter, I don’t like narratives, basically.”

Emma Kay (London, 1961) is a British artist working with subjectivity and memory. Kay studied art at Goldsmiths College, working toward a BA from 1980–83 and an MA from 1995 -97.

Her early work consisted of compiling index-like lists of inanimate objects from a selection of novels. The Bible from Memory was her first ‘memory’ text using only her own recall of the text and was included in the British Art Show 5 2001 held at the South Bank Centre in London. This was followed by Shakespeare from Memory in 1998, three drawings The World from Memory I, II and III, 1998, and Worldview, 1999, an attempt to write down the History of the Whole World from memory. Future, 2001, (Chisenhale Gallery) is a digital film that describes the future of the world, while The Story of Art, 2003, (Tate Modern) is a digital film attempting to write the history of art.

Ed Pien (Taipei, 1958) Ed Pien is a Canadian artist based in Toronto. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, he immigrated to Canada with his family at the age of eleven. He draws on sources both Eastern and Western to create his work, including Asian ghost stories, hell scrolls, calligraphic traditions and the works of Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya, creating sensual, drawing-based installations using ink and translucent paper. In his most recent body of work, Pien has replaced ink and gouache with an x-acto knife in order to produce large-scale paper cuts.

Pien has shown extensively, both nationally and internationally, in venues that include the Drawing Centre, NYC: the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; The Canadian Culture Centre in Paris; The Goethe Institute in Berlin; The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; The Art Gallery of Ontario; Musée des beaux arts, Montreal; Musée d’art contemporain, Montreal; Songzhuang Art Centre, Beijing; aswell as the National Art Gallery of Canada.

Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona, 1923-2012). His first painterly explorations, produced in the late-1940s and early-1950s and still marked by Surrealism, provided him with a base for research into physical nature of objects and their materiality. Very soon, though, his work began to focus on the search for new expressive parameters in which texture played a key role. He quickly began to produce works with relief, fragments torn off, lacerations, rips, linking him to informalism and to American abstract expressionism. He later began to incorporate doors, windows and the human body, and to use collage and assemblage in highly personal work that won him international recognition.

Today, the work of Antoni Tàpies forms part of numerous public and private collections, including those of the Tate Gallery in the United Kingdom, MoMA in New York, the Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna in Rome, the Musée d’Art Moderne and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, amongst others. Tàpies also took part in Documenta, and at the Venice Biennale on several occasions and was awarded the Golden Lion in 1993. He also presented countless solo exhibitions at international galleries. These include, particularly, retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum in New York (1962 and 1995), the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1973), the Nationalsgalerie in Berlin (1974), the Louisiana Museum of Art, Denmark (1974), the Hayward Gallery, London (1974), the Seibu Museum of Art, Tokyo (1976), the Musée d’Art Moderne de Montreal, Quebec, Canada (1977) – and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (1990), amongst others. The Antoni Tàpies Foundation was established in Barcelona in 1990.

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