Drawing on seven decades of his renowned artistic career, Alex Katz – In Good Company, at New River Fine Art, on exhibit from Jan. 20, 2023 - Feb. 19, 2023, is an enlightening and captivating showcase of the artist’s boldly minimalist works that demonstrate his masterful combination of composition, color and form.
With works ranging from the newly published Ada and Flowers portfolios to the previously released Coca-Cola Girl portfolio and other original paintings, drawings, fine art prints, and cutout sculpture by American Icon, Alex Katz gives art audiences a glimpse of the championed artist who is being celebrated internationally with his highly acclaimed Guggenheim retrospective.
Several of the artworks in the exhibition have been studied as well as critiqued by art scholars. Alex Katz – In Good Company has many gems worth exploring.
By intentionally arranging the ¾ frontal portrait of Ada as the primary subject in the “Ada 1”, Katz solidifies her position and presence. Her placement within the frame is measured and distinct, in contrast to the small yet powerful splash of green on its lower left corner. This hint of seemingly subtle color serves as a unique background detail that brings vibrancy to this image while simultaneously lending emphasis to Ada herself. Through this composition, Katz demonstrates his masterful use of contrastive elements to create a captivating work of art.
Alex Katz's "Black Brook" is an exquisite woodcut that exemplifies a mastery of Japanese-style aesthetics. Measuring 9.80 x 7.80 inches and printed on Goyu paper, the work expresses Katz's unique ability to transform recognizable scenes into philosophical studies of space. Taken as a whole, the artwork exudes both culture and spirit, creating an environment that envelops viewers in peace and tranquility. "Black Brook, lends itself to be an exhibition showstopper in its tranquil beauty, balanced composition, and use of strong yet subdued color. By using negative space and reverse silhouettes, Katz achieves the defining feature of tree limbs – the illusion of vibrant leaves intricately placed on defined branches. His artistic choices bring out a transient yet profound grace reminiscent of a traditional Japanese painting practice.
Alex Katz captures in “Luna Park II”, an effect of light on water, a coveted topic that dates back to his teenage years when he worked as a night watchman in Jamaica Bay, Long Island. Here, he observed the incredible transformation of the harbor at dawn as the dull, sludgy waters changed into something breathtaking and ever-changing with the arrival of the first rays of light. Through “Luna Park”, the original and subsequent print editions, Katz has been able to reproduce this same effect of illuminated waters with a strip of solid white paint that is so convincing, it is almost like looking at actual moonlight radiating from liquid. His passion for representing this luminous play between light and water has been unwavering since his formative years and continues to be portrayed through gorgeous art pieces. Also, Katz's breathtaking composition in this particular image is reminiscent of his treasured nocturnal series. His ability to capture the essence of time passing is astonishingly unique and beautifully poignant. Katz once described how he used to make painting sketches in only fifteen minutes before the onset of dusk, a point in time that many cannot hold onto. In this image, Katz has managed to encapsulate a semi-melancholy atmosphere through his depiction of strong horizontal and vertical bars creating six compartments within a rectangular composition. Although the canvas appears flat and two-dimensional, the inferred relationships between elements help to create a sense of three-dimensional space as we look out to the elevated horizon. The result is an image that captures precious yet fleeting moments with finesse and perception.
New River Fine Art’s exhibition, Alex Katz – In Good Company, will briefly coincide with The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum exhibition, Alex Katz: Gathering, a career retrospective on view from October 21, 2022, through February 20, 2023.
For more information on Alex Katz – In Good Company, please visit www.newriverfineart.com or call New River Fine Art at 954-524-2100
written by Gabriel Delgado
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