Alex Katz: Grass and Trees
Essay by John Yau
Published by Richard Gray Gallery
Hardcover, 48 pages, English 2018
Ships from Chicago
Gray is pleased to present Alex Katz: Grass and Trees, a publication for the eponymous solo exhibition of recent landscape paintings by Alex Katz. The illustrated catalogue includes an essay by poet and critic John Yau. Grass and Trees is the artist’s sixth exhibition with Richard Gray Gallery.
Alex Katz was approaching his 90th birthday when he began a new series of landscapes radically different from his earlier work. More loosely painted and expressively realized than any work to date, Grass and Trees debuts large-scale paintings which draw inspiration from three motifs – grasses, roads, and trees. Prompted by the immediacy of nature outside his studio in Maine, these landscapes, like vignettes, are swift, evocative, and specific. While the “Road” and “Trees” paintings veer toward his signature graphic style, Katz’s “Grass” compositions are freely gestural, offering an engulfing sense of space. As one example: Grass 5, depicts nothing more than sunspots and flecks of light on the grass yet measures a heroic 9 x 18 feet. As Yau notes in his catalogue essay, ”... the size of these paintings is immersive. They recall Pollock’s panoramic drip paintings, which ignored the canvas’s physical edges and seemed to extend beyond the painting’s actual limits. You are not looking at a landscape; you are in it.”
Alex Katz: Grass and Trees follows recent museum surveys of the artist’s work at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the High Museum of Atlanta, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, and the Colby College Museum of Art. Works by Alex Katz are held in public collections internationally, including the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Katz lives and works in New York and Maine.