Sean Kelly Gallery is delighted to announce its upcoming exhibition, At One Remove, an extraordinary body of new paintings and works on paper by Callum Innes. This is Innes's first show with the gallery for three years. The opening will take place on Thursday, February 4th, from 6pm until 8pm. The artist will be present.
Innes's new works represent a significant departure from his iconic "Exposed Paintings" and are an exciting development in his continuing investigation into the making and unmaking of abstract painting. Innes still methodically prepares the paintings' surfaces with size and gesso (as in the "Exposed Paintings"), yet in these new works, the picture plane is split vertically in half. Innes applies two separate colors across the entire surface and then rigorously removes the paint on one side. This process is repeated, leaving one half of the painting covered in layered, complex color whilst the other half of the painting is cleansed as much as possible back to the original gesso. Inevitably, the cleaned half retains a palimpsest of the colors that were absorbed into the gesso; as a result, the artist's palette exists outside of the realm of traditional painting and instead suggests a far more unique chromatic vocabulary.
In each painting, a thin, vertical line where the cleansed and painted sections of the composition meet visually vibrates with the remnants of the surface's original layers of paint and separates the two halves of the canvas. This line is not created after the fact, but instead is an integral part of the development of the painting. In Innes's own words, "It wasn't sufficient for me to cover a painting in a single color and then inscribe the field with a line. The development of the line had to be organic, and the best way to achieve that is through erosion."
The tactile quality of Innes's paintings continues in his new works on paper, a number of which will be included in the exhibition. In these works, the paint is applied to large sheets of waxed paper; as a single line, or multiple lines of color, is removed using a thinning medium, the contrast of the waxy, luminous nature of the support emerges. These works on paper represent some of the most sophisticated explorations of color that the artist has achieved in recent years, and create a sense of visual immediacy that act as a powerful counterpoint to the "slow-burn" complexity of the paintings on canvas.
Innes has emerged as one of the most significant abstract painters of his generation, achieving widespread recognition through major solo and group shows worldwide. He was awarded the Jerwood Prize for Painting in 2002, and the Nat West Prize in 1998. In 1995 Innes was short listed for the Turner Prize. His recent, critically acclaimed museum exhibition, From Memory, traveled throughout Europe and Australia. Innes's work is included in many major public collections worldwide including: the Tate Gallery, London; the Kunstmuseum, Bern, Switzerland; the National Galleries of Scotland, Edinburgh; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, Ft. Worth, Texas; and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York.