For decades, the myth of the alienated, struggling artist-genius has populated the big screen. Such movies are the subject matter of Joe Fig’s upcoming exhibition of new paintings September 6 – October 20, 2012.
The scenes depicted in Fig’s new paintings are archetypical moments, some even verging cliché—the artist at work in the studio, with his muse, in a moment of inspiration, etc. The intimately sized oil paintings have a powerful cinematic quality and are culled from film history dating back to 1936 with Rembrandt (featuring Charles Laughton) and including other classic movies such as Pollock (Ed Harris), Basquiat (Jeffrey Wright and David Bowie), Surviving Picasso (Anthony Hopkins), Frida (Salma Hayek), The Agony and the Ecstasy (Charlton Heston), and Lust for Life (Kirk Douglas). Fig has an eye for subtleties, and the subjects of his paintings are often ancillary characters and quiet moments, rather than the glorious triumphs and violent, manic breakdowns so often associated with these stories.
This body of work is an extension of Fig’s interest in artists’ lives, both the mythologies and the realities. His acclaimed book Inside the Painter’s Studio (2009) now in its 6th printing, explores the day-to-day reality of 24 successful contemporary artists including Chuck Close, Dana Schutz, and Mary Heilmann.
Joe Fig’s work was recently featured in a group show at the Pollock-Krasner House entitled The Persistence of Pollock (NYT review June 29), as well as a solo exhibition of recent work at the Southern Vermont Art Center on view through September 3rd, 2012.
Throughout the exhibition, the gallery will hold Saturday screenings of the films listed above. Refreshments provided by Illy Issimo will be served.