LondonDana Schutz: Shadow of a Cloud Moving Slowly
For Shadow of a Cloud Moving Slowly (2020), Dana Schutz, in her inaugural solo exhibition in London and first at Thomas Dane Gallery, presents a selection of new paintings and bronze sculptures continuing her visualization of fictional conditions, psychological sensation and subjective experience.
Shadow of a Cloud Moving Slowly confirms Schutz’s interest in painting as a physical and affective space where imagined crises and social relations are held in tension. The paintings depict a beleaguered and bruised cast of characters that grope in the dark, struggle together in isolation, and wander alone in colour fields. Clouds fall like rocks from above, and a smoky sky, ablaze in green, serves as a vivid backdrop for a vacant-eyed protagonist, while costumed birds shove him from his mountaintop perch. Boaters drift in the darkness as if forever — unmoored, rudderless and disinterested. Their heads, like fruit in a bowl, resemble a still life. Mood, interiority and psychic discord are echoed in setting and landscape: a nomad in the desert is hampered by an eyeball and chain, which locks eyes with the sun, while the monstrous size of Large Model (2020) suggests the figure could stride through the sea at any depth.
As if to reinforce the physical nature of her subjects, Schutz’s use of paint is layered and thickly applied onto the canvas in a sculptural fashion. On view at No.11 Duke Street, a selection of six new bronze sculptures formalize Schutz’s pictorial features as objects. Originally formed in clay, the sculptures are intensely gestural, pockmarked and finger-punched. Here, the sculptures hold a tangible sense of temporality, whether violent, tragicomic or ominous. The Juggler’s (2019) balls melt and reform around her in a comic and exhaustive exercise, while in Heft (2019) a subject shoulders the heavy load of another. Across both mediums in Shadow of a Cloud Moving Slowly, Schutz isolates figures in settings that contend with danger and affliction, internal dilemmas and clownish absurdity; their physical contortion and conflict caught in a dislocated transience.
Dana Schutz was born in Livonia, Michigan, in 1976, and lives and works in New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: Imagine Me and You, Petzel, New York NY (2019); Dana Schutz: Eating Atom Bombs, Transformer Station, Cleveland OH (2017); Dana Schutz, Institute of Contemporary Art Boston, Boston MA (2017); Waiting for the Barbarians, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany (2016); Fight in an Elevator, Petzel, New York NY (2015); Dana Schutz, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Montréal, Canada (2015); Dana Schutz, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany (2014); Dana Schutz, Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, England (2014); God Paintings, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany (2013); Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, Denver Art Museum, Denver CO (2012); Dana Schutz: Works on Paper, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver CO (2012); Piano in the Rain, Petzel, New York NY (2012); Dana Schutz: If the Face Had Wheels, Miami Art Museum, Miami FL (2012).
Selected public collections include: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston MA; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York NY; Museo d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, Rovereto, Italy; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston MA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco CA; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York NY.
Installation view, Dana Schutz: Shadow of a Cloud Moving Slowly, Thomas Dane Gallery, 2020. © Dana Schutz. Courtesy the artist and Thomas Dane Gallery. Photo: Ben Westoby