In-Demand Artist Exhibits in East Hampton
by stacey goergen
East End art lovers are in for a treat this August, when Ryan McGinness’s show of process drawings and cyanotypes comes to Glenn Horowitz Bookseller. The artist is so in demand that when curator Jeremy Sanders approached him about an exhibition, August was the only month of the year he did not already have a show scheduled. Sanders notes that the timing turned out to be perfect. “It wasn’t necessarily planned for the Hamptons, but the material, process, and palette are very seaside, very blue and white,” he says.
The artist agrees. “Cyanotypes are made in the sun, and there seems to be more sun in the Hamptons than in Manhattan,” says McGinness, an internationally celebrated New York-based artist, who is known for his multilayered, brightly colored silk-screened canvases that streamline graphic images, often derived from advertising, street signage, or popular culture.
This exhibition entitled Women: Sun-Stained Symbols includes 30 new works based on drawings of women. Emphasizing that process is particularly important to his work, McGinness notes, “I believe in proving your solutions. I believe the burden of proof is on the artist. I also believe that an artist’s highest contribution to visual culture is original images—especially in an age of post-appropriation where copy-and-paste mash-ups are the prevalent strategies. For these reasons, I make my own images, and I show you how.”
The process drawings begin in the manner of classical studio drawings— the artist makes pencil sketches based on live models. Next, he reworks the original figure in graphite on the same sheet of paper. From there, he creates an ink drawing, again on the same sheet, based on his modified second drawing. Scanning this third image, McGinness creates a digital “vector image” that is transposed—sometimes overlapping the existing images—onto the same sheet of paper.
This intricate technique results in a process drawing composed of multiple layers, images, and material. The cyanotypes, which are rich, deep blue photographic prints made without a camera, are created from templates taken from the “vector drawing” on the original sheets. Printing these “vector drawings” on transparent sheets, McGinness places them over cyanotype-primed paper and exposes them to the sun on the roof of his studio building. The light activates the cyanotype, creating the image, and subjecting each print to the vagaries of weather and timing.
“It’s like sunbathing,” Sanders says about the process. “And so this series of nudes becomes like a contemporary take on the long tradition of painting bathers as done by everyone from Rubens and Poussin to Cézanne, Picasso, and Matisse.” The exhibition will be on display through September 3. 87 Newton Lane, East Hampton, 324-5511
photography by Michael Halsband (portrait); Courtesy Glenn Horowitz Bookseller (untitled)