BrusselsAlex Katz: Ada
Alex Katz is the preeminent painter of modern life. For over sixty years, he has defined the American visual vocabulary, and like all great painters, his work is both beyond and rooted in time. For some, their art remains alive and for others it is unreachably stuck in the past. For Katz, his work is timeless, and the theme is time itself.
For his third exhibition at Gladstone, Katz has peered into his past to revisit works from throughout his oeuvre. These new paintings re-present cropped copies of earlier iconic portraits from 1957 to 2008 of the artist’s wife Ada. In works such as Ada 8, which is a cropped version of the 1989 work Ada in Red, the accessories and adornments have fallen away, leaving the stark visage of the human face, floating outside of time and context. By reworking portraits from his past, Katz has in turn mirrored the present moment. Employing a bright palette, graphic sensibility, and cinematic framing of each composition, the works on view highlight the artist’s resilience and originality.
The subject of countless drawings and prints, Katz has painted his wife Ada hundreds of times over the years. Recognizable by her dark brown hair, wide set dark eyes, and full lips, Ada is relatable yet remains at a distance, self-contained and inscrutable. Viewing these works together reveal an unexpected range of emotion and complexity in Katz’s depiction of Ada. Through the lapse in time between the original portraits, the artist reveals and conceals Ada’s identity in the flat yet bold simplicity of the painting, she could be many different people.
On occasion of the exhibition, Gladstone has published a catalogue, Alex Katz Ada.
In addition to his current exhibition at Gladstone, Alex Katz’s work will appear in two significant solo exhibitions opening in 2022: a solo exhibition at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Spain in June and an upcoming career retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in October.
all images © the gallery and the artist(s)