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Julian Schnabel opens his first solo exhibition at Pace Gallery's new Chelsea home
Installation view of Julian Schnabel: The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky, 540 West 25th Street. March 6 – April 18, 2020. Photography by Melissa Goodwin, courtesy Pace Gallery.

NEW YORK, NY.- Pace Gallery is presenting The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky, Julian Schnabel’s first solo exhibition at the gallery’s new Chelsea home. The exhibition features thirteen recent paintings by the artist. The show is on view at 540 West 25th Street from March 6 – April 18, 2020. An essay by James Nares, titled The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky, accompanies the exhibition.

These works catalogue the possibilities of how and what to paint, revealing a new way of looking at the world that blurs the line between representation and configuration. As Nares explains, “These paintings represent the evidence of their own autonomy. They are metaphoric in an open way, not to interpretation as image but as underlying principles and facets of nature.”

Weather-beaten fabrics provide a temporal point of departure. “Julian is drawn to surfaces and objects that show their own history—scuffed-up cardboard, the discarded sails of sailing ships, Kabuki theater backdrops…he thinks of them as ‘opportunities’—calls them ‘veils of time.’”

Painted with marks Nares refers to as “a kind of mapping of the mind,” the works evoke volcanoes, rock formations, ocean waves, deserts, outer space, all rendered in emotive indigo blues, blood reds, pale pinks and olive greens– eternity. Once a utilitarian object, the fabric ground contains traces of its past life and the perfection of the coincidental opening a window into both our world and one imagined in dense paint. “The paintings are full of dynamic surprises….Small fire, a prism, and a window-like opening in a place with no wall, blue sky beyond…”

Julian Schnabel (born in Brooklyn, New York, 1951, raised in Brownsville, Texas) has always been a revolutionary voice in painting and all his other creative endeavors. His use of preexisting materials not traditionally used in artmaking, varied painting surfaces, and unconventional modes of construction were pivotal in the reemergence of painting in the United States and beyond since the late 1970s. He invented a new language within painting that paved the way for and influenced a new generation of artists.

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