On View from February 28 through March 21, 2013 at Gallery 151. 132 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011.
Gallery 151 is proud to announce an exhibition of new works on paper by New York-based artist Samuel Stabler. The dozen works in Samuel Stabler: A Long Way From Dixie are divided between acidic, highlighter cadmium yellow remixes of Master paintings from the Western canon and rigorous cutouts that grow from a layered collage technique. At the core of both projects is a love affair with images and their division and synthesis in the world today. By sampling the old Masters, Stabler creates drawings that are at once immediately recognizable, but strikingly new.
Stabler’s drawings, sourced from Western art history, might resemble the master studies that the same Renaissance artists used in their own training. However, these drawings are far from simple reproductions. Stabler recolors the works in a dizzying palette of neon highlighter pigment and gold gouache, departing from the originals and democratizing the compositions. Pieter Aertsen’s 1551 masterwork “Meat Still Life,” for example, comes to triumphant, celebratory decadence in Stabler’s drawing, replacing the allegory of the original with an abstract composition discovered in the gossamer outlines of Aertsen’s painting.
Less identifiable are Stabler’s cutout works, where abstract compositions are formed through layers of images from magazines, the internet, and everyday life. Meticulous cuts isolate the resulting networks of line and contour, leaving a web of paper that resembles topology and maps rather than the jumble of layered images that began the work. Complementing these “positives” (in the artist’s terms) are the “negatives,” made from arranging the scraps into equally abstract, white-on-white images. In both, there is a palpable tug-of-war between figure and scene, a surface vibration that rivals his neon drawings despite his cutouts’ complete lack of color. Together, Samuel Stabler’s pieces stand as visual puzzles, inviting new and exciting views into the vast history of Western images.
Samuel Stabler was born in Georgia in 1984. He graduated with a BFA in Drawing from the University of Georgia in 2007 then continued to get his MFA at St. Martin’s School of Art and Design in 2010. Over the past five years, he has shown nationally and internationally in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Stabler lives and works in New York City.
Curated by Max Teicher and the City Firm Inc.