The New York-based artist’s upcoming solo show entitled Linear Expression at Sprüth Magers, Berlin features recent works on canvas and paper with the artist’s abstracted characters emerging from a complex matrix of lines, gestures and rich tonalities.
Condo’s works draw on historic painterly idioms – Kooning’s lines, Matisse’s colours and Picasso’s Cubism amongst many other others – whilst feeling strikingly contemporary. He refers to his method of portraiture as “psychological Cubism” in which he composes his figures not from the Cubist technique of different perspectives, but rather in a range of simultaneous emotional and psychological states. These latest works, for example, seem to express a certain sense of isolation or distance that reflects the uncertainty of the past year. Multiple characters share the same space, often overlapping, but they rarely connect through eye contact or touch.
A new oil-on-linen painting entitled Linear Portrait Composition (2021) features recurring characters in Condo’s work, a serene girl, seen in profile, a cartoonish, dog-like figure, and a deranged toothy mouth of a male figure’s whose brain is exposed as cluster of cells. ‘Held together via intersecting geometric planes, they each represent different states of being often trapped within one psyche,’ reads the accompanying exhibition text. Like many of the artist’s works, there’s a tension between tenderness and violence, soft colours and harsher lines that seems to reflect the complexities and contradictions of human life.
The show will also include a number of Condo’s drawings in which the artist’s layered, mark making process is more intimately revealed against the stark white background of paper.
“George Condo: Linear Expression” runs from 28 April to 25 August 2021 at Sprüth Magers, Berlin. For more information, visit: spruethmagers.com
Featured Image: George Condo, Linear Portrait Composition, 2021. © George Condo / ARS (Artists Rights Society), New York, 2021. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers. Photo by Adam Reich
Millie Walton is a London-based art writer and editor. She has contributed a broad range of arts and culture features and interviews to numerous international publications, and collaborated with artists and galleries globally. She also writes fiction and poetry.