fuses the simplified forms of abstract painting with the recognizable
imagery of realism. He takes the light and atmosphere of a specific moment
as his subject, attempting to capture, in his own words, "that
immediate sensation you see before you focus." The paintings’
monumental scale, close-up vantage points, and radically cropped
compositions engulf the viewer in an imaginary space located somewhere
between reality and artifice. Starting with oil sketches made on the
scene, he reworks his image, enlarging it before transferring the outline
to canvas. Gestural strokes of color on a grand scale take shape both as
independent passages of abstract form and as an illusion of a world of
coolly detached characters and places.
Alex Katz, Woman in the Woods III, 1998, oil on canvas, 7 ft. 6 in. x 5 ft. 6 in. (228.6 x 167.64 cm)
Alex Katz has been exhibiting his work for over forty years in group exhibitions and survey shows in museums worldwide. These include New York Realism: Past and Present, organized by the Japan Association of Art Museums and seen at venues across Japan, including the Odakyu Museum, Tokyo, and Museum of Art, Kintetsu, Osaka (1994); By Night, Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (1996); Pintura Estadounidense, Expressionismo Abstracto, Centro Cultural Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City (1996-97); Views from Abroad: European Perspectives on American Art, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, and part two of this exhibition at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and Birth of the Cool, Deichtorhallen Hamburg (1997); and Surroundings: Responses to the American Landscape, San Jose Museum of Art, California, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1999-2000). Solo exhibitions of Katz’s work have been presented at Marlborough Gallery, New York, since 1973 and also at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1986); Brooklyn Museum, New York, and Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio (1988); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1990); Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden (1995); I.V.A.M. Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia (1996); and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York, and Saatchi Gallery, London (1998).
1950 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Maine
Instituto Valenciano de Arte Moderno, Valencia, Spain. Alex Katz (1996). Exhibition catalogue, texts by Juan Manuel Bonet and Kevin Power.
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, New York. Alex Katz under the Stars: American Landscapes 1951-1995 (1996). Exhibition catalogue, interview by Alanna Heiss; texts by Dave Hickey and Simon Schama.
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany. Alex Katz: American Landscape (1995). Exhibition catalogue, texts by Margrit Brehm, Richard Marshall, Jochen Poetter, and Robert Storr.
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Alex Katz (1986). Exhibition catalogue, text by Robert Rosenblum.