Made in America
06/10/16 – 28/10/16
Sims Reed Gallery is delighted to present its Made in America display exhibition in our London gallery consisting of over 15 works created by prominent American artists of the 1960s including Frank Stella, Alex Katz, Bruce Nauman, Richard Estes, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.
This eclectic show gathers together a collection of striking, bold and recognisable prints such as Ed Ruscha’s iconic Mocha Standard (1969), which depicts a gas station selling Standard oil; a familiar sight around America especially along Route 66 until they were later bought by Chevron. As typical of Pop Art, Ruscha takes the mundane or imagery from everyday commercial culture and manipulates them through isolation, cropping and dramatic perspective, which renders a striking diagonal across the paper together with the bold lettering of ‘Standard’. This work is part of a series finished in different colours yet from the same screen and same size.
The show also features Bruce Nauman’s seminal work Raw War (1971), the first word-image print he created, which explores the palindrome WAR through its careful repetition three times in the print and the interplay between language and signs. As the eye travels from the left to right of the work, one reads WAR, but one also reads RAW due to the inverted R, which disrupts easy reading and expectations. It also invites the spectator to appreciate not only the formal arrangement of the letters and words but also the connection between the conceptual meanings and connections of the two words and their connection to the associations of colours used in the print. The work was created shortly after Nauman created a neon sign work, which alternates in flashing RAW and then WAR, similar to the distorted mirror images in the print. As Nauman later said; ‘I am really interested in the different ways that language functions. That is something I think a lot about, which also raises questions about how the brain and the mind work … the point where language starts to break down as a useful tool for communication is the same edge where poetry or art occurs.’
Katherine Bernhardt’s brightly coloured Cheeseburger Deluxe (2016) embraces the blurring of colours and miss-registrations in the printing process to create unique prints. Bernhardt is a contemporary, Brooklyn-based artist whose works are expressive and playful. She takes everyday items such as shoes, socks and food and floats them in saturated fields of colour, finished in a crude graphic style.