Perry Rubenstein Gallery is pleased to present The Close-In, Håvard Homstvedt’s first solo show in New York. Paintings, sculptures, drawings, and a large-scale installation will be on view in all three of the gallery’s locations (527 W 23rd Street, 534 W 24th Street and 526 W 24th Street).
Homstvedt’s practice is characterized by a lyrical, extensive exploration into art history and century-spanning traditions of craft and textile. Whether painting in the two-dimensional realm or on cast bronze forms, oil and acrylic take to Homstvedt’s material in such a way that gives the work its dynamic texture. While there are formal elements that are clearly figurative, they are not narrative and cannot be tied down to a particular time or place; in this sense they give an atmosphere of abstraction.
The Close-In includes a series of busts cast in bronze, (some of which were exhibited in his presentation at Art Statements at Art Basel 39) and standing figures, that evoke representations of power either in the traditional sense (a monarch or nobility) or in their scale and execution. The headpieces of the busts or the jutting forms of a figure, along with the patterns or patina of the sculptures, lead the way into fantasy and imagination much like the multi-layered paint and overlapping planes on the canvas. His figures seem to be disconnected from their surroundings, being present yet unreachable, generating ambient studies that are disconnected from a specific genre or the representation of the factual world.
The coexistence of abstract and figurative elements in Homstvedt’s works, as well as a distinct focus on materiality culminate in a collage of mediums and sources that emphasizes the process that drives his practice and lead him to the final outcome. It is this process, palpable on the surface of all his works, that overrides any attempt to divide or categorize Homstvedt by medium. He works beyond these borders, creating a space for introspection and imagination, interrupting the daily stream of images through the filter of his memory, transforming it into autonomous entities that populate the here and now.
Homstvedt further develops his figures or unwitting protagonists in works on paper reminiscent of tributes to heroes, rendered as large-scale statues in public spaces, creating monuments whose signifier is open-ended and yet to be determined. The 526 West 24th Street gallery houses an installation—wall drawings and wax model—presented as a work in progress of a realized proposal for such a monument, a physical, almost uncanny experience that allows the viewer to step into his process and vision.
Håvard Homstvedt was born in Lørenskog, Norway and lives and works in New York. Homstvedt received a BFA from RISD in 2000 and an MFA from Yale in 2003. Recent exhibitions include You Will Hardly Know at Galleri Riis in Oslo (2007) and Lights On at the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, in Norway.