Spotlight

Alex Katz

Galería Javier López & Fer Francés (S1)

Galería Javier López & Fer Francés present a selection of rarely exhibited preparatory cartoons by iconic American artist Alex Katz.

Katz is one of the few contemporary painters still using what is essentially a Renaissance technique. The term “cartoon” derives from the Italian “cartone,” referring to a rigid paper used to transfer the main outlines of a composition to a blank canvas by pricking the lines and then dabbing colored powder through the pin-pricks. Drawing is an integral part of his working method, allowing him to observe light, adjust his design, balance the composition, establish an appropriate scale, and create a state of mind, to achieve the cool aesthetic of the present moment in his paintings. Katz attributes much of his process to instinct, but this spontaneity does not preclude meticulous planning of his work. Its two-dimensionality and schematized design, its distancing, and subtle simplicity are fully developed in the contours of his drawings and cartoons, with their distinctive overlays, parallel lines, and the corrections left behind in his search for the perfect form. Not originally intended for exhibition, these works produce a stange artistic effect. Where chalk dust and charcoal collide, the blurred image that results has an unexpected and striking beauty.

Alex Katz (b.1927, Brooklyn; lives and works in New York) graduated from Cooper Union Art School in 1949, subsequently studying at the Skowhegan School for Painting and Sculpture.