Threads: Paintings from the 1960s and 70s features a selection of the work of artist, Stephen Posen, never before publicly shown. This exhibition, presented by Vito Schnabel Projects, is the first significant presentation to revisit Posen’s “breakthrough shaped canvases and related paintings since his debut” at SoHo gallery OK Harris, and Robert Miller, nearly five decades ago.
Posen returned to New York after a two-year Fulbright fellowship from 1964-66, having immersed himself in the art and architecture of Italy. He traveled alongside fellow classmates Richard Serra, Chuck Close, and Nancy Graves. When he returned, his works were featured on the cover of Arts Magazine, and supporters included Dali and Warhol. His work expanded into other stylistic approaches in the 1980s, as he explored the line between the physicality of paint and pictorial illusion, and questioning the tension between our interior perceptions and exterior realities from tromp-l’oeil compositions to photographic mixed media and pop ~ as in Crazy Kat.
Posen became a prominent figure of the new American Realism “exploring a painterly paradox in which pictorial illusion and spatial perception grapple. His uncanny cut-outs from this period acknowledge a sculptural impetus, imitating draped fabric and hanging clothes with an exacting verisimilitude that probes at aesthetic and intellectual curiosities about form, representation, flatness, and depth.” He created “sculptural constructions from simple actions of folding and draping clothes in order to build an image that he would faithfully render in paint on cut and shaped masonite, aluminum, or board.”
In 1967, when Posen settled in New York, these works were discovered by Ivan Karp, who was then with Leo Castelli Gallery, before founding OK Harris Gallery in SoHo in 1969, with subsequent exhibitions in 1971 and 1975. Karp is credited with launching the careers of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann and others.
The exhibit at Vito Schnabel’s Project will feature five canvases offering a rare look at Posen’s achievements in the seminal period from 1967 and 1970. Works include ‘Clean Clothes‘ (1969) oil on shaped Plexiglas; Untitled (1968-69) reveals a rigorous formal arrangement of garments and clothes, layered, draped, and folded in his studio; Tuxedos (1968) portrays loosely strewn, deep black formal wear draped over an actual clothesline. Also on view will be works on canvas that “anticipate Posen’s later paintings of cloth-draped boxes, which were presented under the direction of Swiss curator Harald Szeemann at Documenta V in 1972.”
Stephen Posen ~ Threads: Paintings from the 1960s and 70s will be on view from May 2 to June 23, 2018 with Opening Reception on May 1 from 6-8pm, at Vito Schnabel Projects, 43 Clarkson Street, NYC, and from July 28 to September 2, 2018 at Vito Schnabel Gallery, Via Maistra 37 St. Moritz, Switzerland. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.
Stephen Posen currently works in his New York and Bucks County, Pennsylvania studios.