Tag Archives: John Currin

Review: John Currin – Controversial ambitions of a master painter

Currently on view: Montréal
John Currin
at DHC/ART, Montréal
30 June – 13 November 2011

“Sno-bo” (1999) © John Currin. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery

DHC/ART premiered John Currin with a first retrospective exhibition in Montréal for the American painter. Looking back at the last two decades of his works, displayed chronologically from the lowest level up to the top forth floor of the DHC/ART building, Currin has evolved from somewhat naïve painterly techniques to more recent attempts to rival old-master virtuosities, via provocative erotic themes. Willingly putting high and low brow genres into conflict, he is well known for painting women with disproportionally large breasts, tiny feet and padded bottoms. Currin appropriates kitsch and other popular forms of imagery from mass media consumer culture, to entangle their mercantile origins with satire, caricature, fiction and fantasy. These surprisingly modest-sized canvases also overflow with art historical reference that somehow add gravitas to evermore prodigal pictorial effects, in high contrast to his deliberate choice of shallow subject matter, trespassing on ideas beauty and desire.
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