I love Julian Schnabel's tenacious exploration of painting's parameters, but I've always wrestled with his grandiose sentimentality and unselfconsciously earnest approach that recalls the old-fashioned bravado of earlier generations, particularly the Abstract Expressionists and German postwar painters. In his new paintings, on display at Contemporary Fine Arts in Berlin through July 28, Schnabel uses digitally printed photographs on polyester as a starting point, then overpaints with resin, oil, gesso and ink. For Schnabel, the images--enlarged snapshots of what look like history paintings, portraits, Indian deities, and more--bring a sense of time, place and narrative to his meandering, abstract materiality. Since he made "Basquiat" in 1996, his films (I'm a big fan) have overshadowed the paintings, but these jpegs of his new work look intriguing, as if he's having some fun.
"Julian Schnabel: Deus Ex Machina," Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, Germany. Through July 28, 2012. The exhibition is accompanied by a 55-page color catalogue with an introduction by Robert Fleck.
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