David Zwirner is pleased to inaugurate its new exhibition space at 533 West 19th Street with an exhibition by New York artist Katy Schimert. Previously used as a private viewing room, the space will now host a series of smallscale public exhibitions–showing suites of photographs, drawings, and prints–giving gallery artists an opportunity to present bodies of work in an intimate setting. In The Monster, Schimert debuts fourteen works on paper.
Initially begun as studies for an outdoor sculpture project, the fully developed series of watercolors, which comprises The Monster, demonstrates the fluidity and holism of the artist's concerns across media. Schimert uses fragments of personal experience as conceptual impetus and the intersection of the fine and decorative arts as a formal point of departure. Densely layered and vaguely topographical, this new series of drawings explores the transmutation of man into monster. Extending beyond physiological investigations, the works simultaneously function as deeply probing portraits of psychological transformation, pain, anxiety, repression, and loss, recalling Théodore Géricault's early 19th-century paintings of psychiatric patients.
Schimert's dynamic surfaces, created by intricate lines and transparent washes of paint, result in what she describes as "space for illusion," refuting their own two-dimensionality, while offering the human form as a physical container for encoded thoughts and symbols. Revealing the interior structure of her forms, the works suggest the vulnerability of both the medium and subject matter, with multiple layers of paint bleeding through one another. The artist's gloomy palette of blacks, grays, and browns, punctuated by vein-like tracks of saturated color, addresses her interest in 19th-century horror novels, crime fiction, and noir films. Together these introspective works present a poetically deconstructed sequence without an obvious beginning or end–visually compelling, emotionally evocative, and formally succinct.
Schimert works in sculpture, drawing, film, and installation. Since 1993, the artist has exhibited widely throughout North America and Europe. Schimert was recently in Toronto, Canada, lecturing as part of the Anne Lind International Program. She has been the focus of one-person exhibitions at the University of California Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, California (1999) and The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (1997). She was recently included in the group exhibitions: ˆ, FestSpiele+ 2007, Pinakothek der Moderne and Nationaltheater, Munich, Germany (2007); Sculptors Drawing, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado (2007); and Space Is the Place, organized by Independent Curators International and traveling to six venues throughout the United States from 2006 to 2008.