Gabriel Orozco

A walkthrough of the exhibition at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
Marian Goodman Gallery New York's exhibition of new work by Gabriel Orozco is on view from Friday, 11 September, through Saturday, 24 October 2020.

For this exhibition, Orozco presents a new series of tempera paintings, and a selection of new watercolor collages which expand upon his Suisai series, begun in 2016. All of the works were completed during these trying times, as the tragic pandemic was underway, either in his apartment in Tokyo or via remote interaction.

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The tempera paintings on view all began as spontaneous, quick, and fluid line drawings Orozco made in his notebooks. The notebooks play a key role in Orozco’s work, often replacing the studio as a daily site of experimentation and new ideas. Orozco selects from these little scribbles and blows them up to scale on the canvas. 
The color placement is a more methodical process and becomes an almost sculptural operation: carving the originating simple lines into shapes that have weight and form, and which sometimes resemble flowers, leaves, tree branches, or other elements of nature — a motif that runs through much of Orozco’s work, and certainly throughout this exhibition. In this series, he incorporates a very limited palette made up of colors he began to use more of after moving to Asia in 2015 and which stem from his study of Japanese painters and their influence on the work of Henri Matisse.
All of the Suisai collages are made using Japanese watercolors, painted onto shikishi (specially prepared paper fixed onto a hard backing). Some include his signature circles and diagrams, and all are a mixture of both discipline and accident.

The Suisai comprise “…the kind of systematic geometricization that I have always used but in this case I was also playing with watery, fluid brushstrokes as well as with nature.  I was studying the Japanese tradition of painting and woodblock printing, and also composition, in Hokusai, Hiroshige, and especially Sotatsu, mixed with my own geometric games.” 
In this new body of Suisai, Orozco adds in various elements of mixed media and collage: tape, paper, gouache, graphite, stamps. Some of them are layered with many colorful elements while others are more contemplative and quiet with minimal colors and brush strokes.
The twenty small collages on view in the North Viewing Room particularly recall Orozco’s Roto Shaku series (2015) where he wrapped lengths of wood with various tapes he found in a Tokyo craft store. As with the tempera paintings, some of the shapes in the Suisai begin to take on forms found in nature: flowers, vines, leaves.

The tempera paintings emanate a pure, still quality, while most of the collages contain a frenetic, colorful sense of nature. Taken as a whole the exhibition strikes a palpable balance between meticulous craftsmanship and instinctive, intimate, mark-making.  

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