Michael Scott: And then he tried to swallow the world, Gering & Lopez Gallery, New York, NY


Michael Scott, ATHTTSTW #3, 2008
Enamel on wood, 13 1/4 x 12 x 3/4 inches

June 18 – August 21, 2009

Gering & Lopez Gallery presents “and then he tried to swallow the world”, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Michael Scott. Initially known for his signature black and white “line” paintings widely exhibited in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, this exhibition marks Scott’s return to the New York art scene after a ten-year hiatus.

After dabbling in the fashionable abstract expressionist style of the late 1980’s that celebrated individualism, Scott formulated a reactionary position designed to question the basic concept of originality. Inspired by the black paintings of Ad Reinhardt and the date paintings of On Kawara, Scott created a series of “target” paintings consisting of black and white concentric circles that appear identical with only slight variations, intending to remove the aspect of qualitative judgment from the viewing experience. After Scott felt he had reached an endpoint with this body of work, he moved on to a series of black and white line paintings driven by the concept of making works so intensely optical that in theory they would be impossible for the human eye to view, a complete inversion of the traditional function of painting. Scott differentiated these works from the Op Art movement of the 1960’s because their focus was on content rather than aesthetics. Once he felt he had exhausted this critique of opticality, Scott moved into a series of color line paintings that embrace their own viewing rather than deny it. These new works display a heightened emphasis on humanism, showcasing the presence of the artist’s hand as well as a more automatic painting method. The works rely less on mechanical perfection and more on the inherent imperfections that occur in the intuitive process of creation. These brightly colored works on aluminum and wood that compose the current exhibition constitute the most ambitious series of Scott’s work today. Accordingly, he has titled the exhibition “and then he tried to swallow the world.”

New York-based artist Michael Scott was born in Paoli, Pennsylvania in 1958. He received his BA from Hamilton College in Clinton, NY. He studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and then received his MFA from Hunter College in New York City. His work has been exhibited at Le Consortium, Dijon, France; PS1, LIC, New York; Le FRAC, Nord-Pas de Calais, France; Musée des Beaux Arts, La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland; Centre National d’art Contemporain de Grenoble, Grenoble, France; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Geneva, Switzerland; and MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland. This will be Scott’s third exhibition with the gallery.