Carl Ostendarp. Courtesy of Elizabeth Dee Gallery.
Elizabeth Dee Gallery is proud to announce a survey exhibition of work by Carl Ostendarp, featuring paintings and sculptures from the past eighteen years. Ostendarp has long been engaged with the history of modernist and abstract art through an ongoing exploration of surface, color, scale, and image. He has mined sources as varied as Pop Art, Minimalism, Surrealism, and American color field painting, often all at the same time, in the creation of a unique and influential style, manifested through distinct bodies of work. Each is represented in the exhibition within Ostendarp’s most recent painterly endeavor: a room-scaled painting installation.
While Ostendarp’s work has continuously responded to the history of painting that came before, it continues to be influential for a generation of painters that have followed after him. His early urethane foam paintings and sculptures, which exploit the process of their own making for a deadpan take on the synthesis of form and formlessness, precipitated a current interest in the informe and the abject. His benday dot paintings wittily respond to the construction of the grid and mark a change in the nature of pictorial language from “function” to “characterization.” Along with his “flat” paintings, they created a new context for this kind of imagery while forecasting a resurgence of both styles in much of the appropriated material incorporated in the work of young artists today. His idiogramatic paintings shift the work to more personal territory. Hands and feet, drips and zips, beans and o’s populate expanses of paint as a means to convey poetic association and uncanny experience rather than pop representations. Humorous and buoyant on first glance, these biomorphic abstractions become equally complicated and profound. His word paintings take this development one step further, conflating the act of looking and reading.
Specificity of scale, whether art historical (as in the paintings based on Miro’s Letters and Numbers attracted to a spark) or site specific (as in the case of his painting installations) has always engaged Ostendarp’s interest. Here he breaks the painting out of the confinements of canvas and stretcher and sets the stage for a new experience of the artist’s process and medium.
This is Carl Ostendarp’s tenth solo exhibition in New York and his third with Elizabeth Dee. His work is the focus of an upcoming show including a wall mural and drawings at Museum Ludwig, Cologne and his paintings and sculptures will be presented at the Kunstmuseum Vaduz, Lichtenstein in the exhibition Lust for Life. In 2007, his wall mural and collection installation was presented in DAS KAPITAL: Blue Chips & Masterpieces, MMK, Frankfurt. In 2003, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT presented Carl Ostendarp: 189 Drawings, a survey of his works on paper.