Fri 8 Sep 2023 to Sat 11 Nov 2023
Artist: Alex Katz
Alex Katz: Autumn is the artist’s tenth solo exhibition at GRAY and the first exhibition of large-scale landscapes since 2018.
The exhibition follows his lauded career retrospective, Gathering, which opened at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in the fall of 2022. As Guggenheim curator Katherine Brinson described: “[One] might be surprised by the unbound rapture of the landscape paintings that have consumed much of the artist’s still-considerable energy in recent years. But [these works] are in fact the culmination of a lifelong artistic project that aspires to compress everything into ‘a single burst of energy… to paint it wide open.’”
Alex Katz has painted figures and landscapes in equal measure throughout his career. Expressed at great scale and in vivid color, the paintings exhibited in Autumn present enveloping compositions measuring as wide as fourteen feet. “I started to think about the environmental landscapes [as] being really an environment that wraps around you,” as Katz notes, "There is no narrative. You’re dealing with perception.”
Across eleven monumental canvases, Katz depicts the vibrant foliage, sweeping fields, and windblown trees of the changing season. Created between 2022 and 2023, Katz’s Autumn series relies on a bright fall palette, while other paintings in the exhibition, from the related series Field's End and Tree Top, present quieter responses to the landscape in muted greens, yellows, and grays. The paintings are exhibited alongside a series of sixteen new portraits on paper. Each drawing possesses an economy of line and is titled after its sitter – Vivien, Niki, Levi, Isaac, Vincent, and others– in reference to the friends, family members, poets, dancers, and artists most central to the artist’s life.