Life on Mars Gallery is pleased to present Reckless in an Ever-Changing World, curated by John Yau with works by Phil Allen, Karen Schwartz, and Clintel Steed.
In 1976, the American expatriate artist, R. B. Kitaj, organized an exhibition for the Arts Council of Great Britain that he named Human Clay. I was reminded of Kitaj’s title when I began thinking about how to put together this exhibition. I wanted to make a distinction between painters who made images and were interested in resemblance, and those who worked with paint as if it were some kind of clay, a material to shape and interact with, while responding to their subject matter. This is not exactly what Kitaj had in mind when he coined the term, but I think the viewer will see what I am getting at.
The focus of this exhibition is on three artists who have concocted figures and faces out of paint. This is how Clintel Steed, one of the artists in the exhibition, characterized the relationship between painter and subject matter: “Nothing comes close to human contact, real human presence. Nothing ever will.”