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George Condo: Ink Drawings

Large-scale figurative works on paper by the visionary artist

by David Graver in Culture on 31 January 2014

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It's impossible to deny the importance of artist George Condo; with his engaging, visceral work spanning three decades across drawing, printmaking, painting and sculpture. His first solo exhibitions took place in the emerging bustle of New York City's East Village galleries in 1981. He since went on to exhibit globally with pieces kept in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Even Kanye West (a noted fan of Condo) requested a collaboration with the artist for his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy album cover—for which Condo specifically created a series of paintings. Condo's evocative style is a distinct meshing of classical influences with the exploratory energy of the art scene from which he sprung. The latest of his shows, "Ink Drawings," will run from 11 February to 5 April 2014 at Skarstedt Gallery London and it's a show not to be missed.

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The Skarstedt exhibit will feature nine new works, monumental in scale. While the materials are ink on paper, the 5x7 ft pieces, made over a six month period, are more akin to paintings with their impressive scope. The size of each emphasizes the latent intensity in all of Condo's work; heady yet visually powerful. Each piece also marks a stylistic embrace of classic figuration, a departure from the vast dollops of abstraction Condo normally brings forth. All the while, however, he maintains his propensity for almost grotesque, eye-catching imagery—deeply probing his own understanding of humanity and the psychology within by way of a darkened palette.

“My intention with this body of work was to explore the extreme possibilities of ink on paper," Condo explained. "I used the medium to create transparent layers of colors. I thought of Rothko at times and his overlapping veils of transcendental space." Condo developed figures worth investigating and situated them in an ethereal environment worth indulging. With size an important factor, it makes sense to see these up close and personal.

"Ink Drawings" begins Tuesday, 11 February and will run until 5 April 2014 at Skarstedt Gallery London, 23 Old Bond Street, London, UK.

Images courtesy of George Condo: Ink Drawings at Skarstedt, London, from 11 February 2014

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