Petzel Gallery is delighted to announce, Imagine Me and You, a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Dana Schutz. This is her third show at the gallery and will mark the first time she will exhibit sculptures. The exhibition will be on view from January 10th through February 23rd with an opening reception on Thursday, January 10th, from 6–8pm.
Imagine Me and You depicts strange terrain where clouds hover like rocks, ground is composed of jawbones, and mountains suspend writhing histories and political dilemma. Here, characters travel in groups or pairs, their features pocked and marred by exterior forces or molded by interior psychic malady. Alone and often monstrous, they struggle to inhabit their own image. Their figuration is informed by their task at hand and own felt sensation—a fishlike runner tries to escape her body on an endless treadmill, a lecturer giving a Ted Talk feels her face as she shapes it, and a multi-limbed painter tries to hold up her studio and canvas while the walls tumble in an earthquake.
The surfaces of Schutz’s new paintings are layered and built up with thick impasto. Figures become walking palettes as paint, daubed and squeezed straight from the tube, create scars, wounds, nipples or noses. Other times, the paint is sculpted, as in the painting Bat, molding it as an imprint of an iconoclast’s weapon that has swiped across the character’s face.
As paint is used as a sculptural material to build subjects, five new bronze sculptures render Schutz’s pictorial elements as objects. The sculptures, first molded in clay and later cast in bronze, are gestural and direct. There is a physicality of feeling combined with absurdity that is comically tragic—an anguished man sports an extra head, a smoker exhales a sculptural cloud, and a woman mashes her breasts together under a setting sun. One sculpture, Washing Monsters, echoes the painting of the same title—a man stranded on a mountain top caresses and cares for a presence that he fears. The weight of the monster’s arm hugs him in companionship yet confines him for eternity.