|David Salle: New Paintings
Dirk Westphal: Piscoli Fabulosi usw
16 March 14 April 2007
Opening reception Friday, March 16, 6-8 pm
The Baldwin Gallery is proud to present new paintings by internationally acclaimed artist David Salle. Born in 1952, Salle earned his MFA at the California Institute of the Arts and moved to New York City, where he established his reputation during the 1980s. He is recognized for his role in revitalizing representational art with a post-modern twist. Typical of Salle's style are his detached use of imagery and techniques referencing Old Master and Modernist works, and the layering of apparently unrelated images to create complex compositions. Salle’s new show will present a continuation of his Vortex Paintings, the first of which was shown at the Baldwin Gallery in 2004. The Vortex Paintings were also just recently shown in New York City at the Mary Boone Gallery and this third show at the Baldwin Gallery will present an ongoing interpretation of this style of painting.
In his new Vortex paintings, each picture has at its heart a whirling tornado that sucks the eye into nothingness, set against wallpaper-like backdrops of appropriated imagery, and objects like shells, baseballs, dessert plates and airplanes flying out towards the viewer. Using both painting and collage techniques, these large works merge figuration and abstraction. In these paintings Mr. Salle plumbs new depths of kitsch and scales new heights of painterly finesse. His touch and vision have a cold, macabre meticulousness to rival Dalí who shared a similar passion for anamorphy and other tricks and quirks of perception. Mr. Salle dispatches his fast, gooey, distortive swirls with a slick precision. In 1999 the Stedlijk Museum in Amsterdam organized a solo exhibition of Salle’s work which traveled to Vienna, Austria; Turin, Italy; and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. Salle is also a sculptor, photographer, stage designer, and film director.
Also showing at the Baldwin Gallery, will be its second exhibition by New York artist Dirk Westphal. Most recently, Westphal’s work has involved the collection, cataloguing, and ultimate re-presentation of ornamental fish. In this recent exhibition, Piscoli Fabulosi usw (Latin for 'pretty little fishes, and so on'), Westphal includes photographs of what, in real life, exist as inch-long, saltwater-dwelling damselfish. Rather than simply resorting to Photoshop to make his pristine, hyperdetailed images of the fish, he rigs up fish-tank studios different from the tanks his tiny muses actually live in with elaborate networks of plastic tubing that position the animals optimally for the camera. He also takes great pains to illuminate the water in such a way that it makes the most of the creatures' extraordinary markings and oddly expressive faces by portraying them against glowing white backgrounds. Westphal then coats the surfaces of the final C-prints with a glossy acrylic to restore the slick aura of water and add a satisfying, sculptural quality to the two-dimensional images. Color, beauty and craft are paramount to this investigation.
For several years, Westphal has worked with perceptions of natural and manmade beauty by photographing medicinal fluids and fish. For this Baldwin Gallery exhibition, he widens his focus. As an avid surfer, Westphal spent the last two years learning and perfecting the art of surfboard-making. He also invented a process to adhere his signature fish photos to the surface of the boards. The results are beautiful, ready-to-use sculptures. His surfboards are decorated with large images of fancy goldfish and colorful damselfish that are similar to his Piscoli Fabulosi photographic series. However, these particular photos were taken in Chinatown of the fish in tanks at various restaurants. He photographs them up close and makes large prints, “which seems to exaggerate their bulging eyes and bellies and huge flowing fantails, giving them an over-the-top look that is a hallmark” of his art. Westphal thinks of his photo-surfboards as sculptures, although they could be used to ride the waves. The boards are not just a different medium to show off his fabulous photographic skills. They are also built for urban surfers measuring just nine feet instead of the class ten. Westphal lives and works in New York City.
The public is invited to an opening reception for the artists on Friday, March 16th from 6 to 8 pm.
Since 1994, the Baldwin Gallery has been presenting new work by established and emerging artists. It has earned an international reputation as an important venue for contemporary art, with a particular focus on American artists.
Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm, and Sunday from Noon to 5 pm.
The Baldwin Gallery is located at 209 South Galena Street in Aspen, Colorado.
Images are available upon request. Please call 970.920.9797 for further information.