01 May Timeless Artistry at Kohn Gallery: Mark Innerst on View
Kohn Gallery in LA invites us to witness the solo exhibition of new paintings by Mark Innerst, consisting of up to 28 new works, all of which continue the artist’s conceptual investigation into thematic genres of traditional painting. Innerst broke onto the New York art scene in the early 1980s with exquisitely executed small-scale paintings with hand-made frames, and his works were considered part of the Pictures Generation of artists who employed widely varied images as source material culled from the expanding media of the pre-digital age. In fact, Innerst worked in the studio of Robert Longo, one of the preeminent artists of this group. Innerst would explore subject matter as subject matter in his work, producing oil paintings of landscapes, still lifes, cityscapes, historical scenes, interiors, et al., yet so deftly painted that his works were prized as much for their beauty as their conceptual rigor.
This body of new paintings shows Innerst to be at the height of his artistic powers, where the towering buildings of cityscapes are depicted as bejeweled giants that line the lonely canyon of an urban avenue. Elsewhere, a freeway overpass hovers in the air like a modernist sculpture above a highway road, all set against Constable-like clouds and sky. In another work, Innerst produces his own version of a Dutch church interior with a blue-toned study seen from a bird’s eye view of the grand lobby of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, replete with visitors filling the vast space.
Those who are aware of Innerst’s career are familiar with his iconic cityscapes with towering buildings, and this exhibition will present a number of works where the city streets are sometimes geometricized in a nod toward American Modernism. In other works, the subject is delicately portrayed as an equilibrium of realism and romanticism. Finally, some paintings depict city streets and buildings abstracted and reduced to volumetric blocks, adorned with richly colored pointillist dabs of paint.