Sean Kelly is pleased to announce Callum Innes’ exhibition Tondos, his eighth solo exhibition with the gallery, which introduces a remarkable new development in his oeuvre. The exhibition presents Innes’s iconic Exposed Paintings, Split Paintings and Shellac Paintings in an entirely new format. Made on plywood panels, these circular and oval paintings mark a dramatic departure from the artist’s rectangular format and invite a range of new interpretations, both psychologically and formally. The tondos, presented in the main gallery, will be accompanied by a group of new works on paper in the front gallery.
While his working methodology remains consistent—the repeated addition and removal of pigment in the Exposed Paintings and Split Paintings and the interaction of two different materials in the Shellac Paintings— these new paintings have necessitated a number of important evolutions in the way that Innes makes the work. Using a smaller, rounded brush the physicality of these paintings is completely different, allowing for more fluidity and enabling him to have more direct contact with the work.
Each of the works has a beveled edge, which returns from the surface at about a forty-five-degree angle. This plane gives the illusion that the exposed portions of the paintings are larger, changing our perceptions of light and space and emphasizing their circular shape, making for a very physical, object like presence.
In particular, the oval Split Paintings emphasize the materiality of the work as the natural grain of the wood comes through on the exposed side of the painting, adding yet more layering and depth.
Innes’s Shellac Paintings are the most unique in the series as the panels are created horizontally. Innes pours shellac on the surface to create a thin layer, then dips a brush into oil paint and meticulously drips the color onto the surface, creating a deliberate constellation of dots across the panels.
This sensibility is also present in Innes’s works on paper, in the front gallery. Comprised of ethereal squares of complexly layered color painted with the dexterity and sensitivity for which the artist is known, the work’s visually charged edges reveal glimpses of the individual colors in their pure form, giving the viewer an understanding of how these layers of color interact to create the finished work.