Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to announce Ken Price: Zoo, a survey exhibition focused exclusively on Price’s ceramic cups and unique works on paper involving the depiction of animals. The show includes examples of some of the artist’s most iconic subject matter, ranging from sea turtles, squid, tree frogs, and Gila Monsters to a host of other amphibious and subterranean characters. This is the first exhibition to illuminate Price’s aesthetic engagement with Animalia.
Animals have a starring role in Price’s drawn depictions of an imagined world immersed in endless narrative drama. Some of these animals are depicted in specific detail (e.g. the emblazoned frill of an Australian lizard), while others morph outside the bounds of clear recognition, such as an asexually reproducing organism – perhaps an ancient jellyfish, or an Al Capp shmoo. Sexuality was a pervasive and mysteriously expressed theme in Price’s work throughout his entire career; often these creatures lurk or coil, poised to engage in primal surges. If these animals do convey any pathos, it’s that of survival: deadpan and focused.
Included in this exhibition is the artist’s first snail cup, dating from 1965. Struck by the gesture of a small, store-bought ceramic snail, Price made a palette-shaped cup to which he fused the souvenir, engaging the two seemingly unrelated forms. The gestures of both cup and creature take on similar characteristics of stance and stature. In a 2006 interview with Douglas Dreishpoon, Price recalled, “When I made that series, I was very interested in reptiles and amphibians, and didn’t feel it was unnatural to have lizards or snails on cups. They go together, don’t you think?”
Early in his career, Price embraced drawing as a separate and vital aspect of his creative process; the gestures and forms of his animal subjects clearly relate to the core inclinations of his sculptural work. For Price, drawings of specific creatures served as a means to explore and derive a sense of life and motion that he would then absorb into his sculptural oeuvre. The qualities of shape, contour, color, texture, and interaction with light organically translate from the gestures of his early animals to his later amorphous sculpture. Deriving the vitality of a pre-human history, Price’s images – representative and abstract alike – are reflections of a subliminal world.
Ken Price: Zoo will be on view at 20 West 57 Street from May 7 through August 2, 2013, and will overlap the opening of two major retrospective exhibitions of Price’s works in New York City: Ken Price: Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper, 1962-2010 at The Drawing Center (June 19-August 18) curated by Douglas Dreishpoon, Chief Curator at the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; and Ken Price Sculpture: A Retrospective, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (June 18-September 22) curated by Stephanie Barron, Chief Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Ken Price: Zoo is Franklin Parrasch Gallery’s tenth solo exhibition of Price’s work in its twenty year history of exhibiting this enigmatic American artist. For further information, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-246-5360, Tuesday-Saturday 10a-6p.