In his artistic practice, Keith Coventry deals with the ruins of modernism and the failure of the modernist architecture. Using modernist conventions, his paintings and sculptures from the 1990s reflect abstractly on the social realities of urban life. On the other hand, the American artist Grear Patterson focuses on stark contemporary language and its visual surrogates, a nowadays dictionary made up of winking and frowning emoticons distilled and reshuffled into ambiguous ciphers. The work of these two artists will soon be on view at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer in two concurring exhibitions. Titled Tabula Rasa, the exhibition by Keith Coventry refers to a blank space that results from the obliteration of an original content, making the new beginning possible. Titled Lucky Charm, the exhibition by Grear Patterson will present his latest body of work, refining his previous examinations of sunsets.
In view of the development of a modernist aesthetic in architecture and urban planning, the cities destroyed during wartime could be described as “tabula rasa”. This is what Keith Coventry suggests in his latest exhibition that will showcase his acclaimed series Estates and Pure Junk. Drawing on the abstract geometric vocabulary of the Russian Suprematism, the Estates series is inspired by the colored maps found at the entrance to housing estates. With often ironic titles, these paintings comment on the failings of the utopian ideals of Modernism. On the other hand, the Pure Junk series is constructed from the white monochromatic paintings of smoothly sloping forms derived from the contours of McDonald’s golden arches logo. Using muslin, beeswax, gesso, glass, and wood, Coventry establishes a link between a hygienic aesthetic free of decoration and this larger emergence of junk food.
The artist Grear Patterson plumbs the pleasures and traumas of adolescence in photographs, videos, paintings and sculptures that evoke both personal and collective rites of passage. In the exhibition Lucky Charm, the artist continues his previous explorations of sunsets. While the previous sunsets were inspired by Hollywood movies, these new works pick up on the form of the setting sun through the shape of the image carrier. Using a combination of different colors on the raw canvas, he evokes the spatial depth, making associations to rainbows of figments of imagination. One of the sculptural pieces in the exhibition, Two Peas in a Pod and It Takes Two to Tango, is comprised of two aluminum arches that can be walked through, forming a spatial unit experienced by passing.
The exhibition Tabula Rasa by Keith Coventry will be on view at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer in Vienna from September 8th until October 14th, 2017. The preview will be held on September 7th, from 8 p.m. The exhibition Lucky Charm by Grear Patterson will be on view in the gallery’s Project Room from September 8th until October 14th, 2017. The preview will be held on September 7th, from 8 p.m.
Featured image: Keith Coventry - Golden Arches XXIII, 2017 (detail). All images courtesy of Pace Gallery.