Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to announce its participation in Independent New York with a cross-generational presentation of works by three Los Angeles-born artists: John Altoon (1925-1969), Mark Gonzales (b. 1968), and Ken Price (1935-2012). Included are iconic examples of painting, drawing, and sculpture highlighting the common sensibilities and consistent sensual energy flowing through the work of each artist.
John Altoon has been revered as an “artist’s artist” for decades. Once described by Ferus Gallery’s Irving Blum as “dearly loved, defiant, romantic, highly ambitious and slightly mad … incredibly gifted and absolutely brilliant,” Altoon was the consummate maverick among a generation of maverick Los Angeles artists. He forged a singular style of surreal abstraction in the early 1960s, becoming most well known for imagery featuring vaguely identifiable anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures often engaging in improbable psychosexual acts. From the mid-1960s until this untimely death in 1969 at the age of 44, Altoon shifted to a manic surrealist illustrative style of image making, particularly in his drawings, often including his own erotic nightmares and dreams as subject. In 2014, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles) hosted a survey of Altoon’s work, including over 70 paintings and drawings which Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight described as an exhibition of “voluptuous color and luxurious interpenetrations of sensuous forms conspired to make messy, elegant, often witty abstract pictures.”
In the manner of Philippe Petit or Rémy Julienne, Mark Gonzales pushes the boundaries of physical motion to the realm of intrinsic formal beauty and poetic resolution. As a teenager in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Gonzales became known for his skateboarding, where he incorporated elements of the urban environment in unprecedented ways while inventing and executing tricks in locations that are so core to the sport they continue to bear his name. Gonzales’ approach to skateboarding is inextricably tied to his practice as a painter, illustrator, filmmaker, actor, poet, and designer, all of which define his role as a cultural icon. In his “Poem Paintings,” the episodic exploration of various themes using “automatic spelling” and oft-invented syntax as seen in his countless self-published zines is revisited, suggesting a reclamation of the raw graffiti-style text that is so often associated with skateboarding. Gonzales’s dynamically executed verse elicits the corporeal qualities that connect the poem works directly with the ethos of his cartoon-like figures of hidden identities also included in this presentation.
Ken Price’s work straddles a narrow precipice that divides the elegant from the abhorrent and the graceful from the crude. At once jewel-like and animal, alive and static, Price’s highly refined ceramic sculptures mine familiar patterns, peeling their layers to expose unprecedented gestures, engaging clues to our existence. Since the early 1990s Franklin Parrasch Gallery has hosted eleven solo exhibitions of Price’s work, and in 2012-2013 a major retrospective of his sculpture travelled from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Los Angeles) to the Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas) and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York). This will be the gallery’s first presentation in context with the work of his friend and colleague, John Altoon, an artist Price revered.
For details on available works, artist biographies, and further information, please contact the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 212-246-5360 during business hours: 10a-6p, Tuesday-Saturday.
Independent New York is open by invitation only on March 8, 2018 and to the public March 9-11. Franklin Parrasch Gallery is located on the 6th floor. For visitor and ticketing information, please visit IndependentHQ.com.