For over 30 years, Christopher Wool (b. 1955, Chicago, IL) has unceasingly explored the complexities of abstract painting, offering a continuous investigation into the medium at a time when many regarded the practice to be obsolete. Creating a world in which the material and the abstract are inextricable, Wool’s oeuvre draws on elements of Conceptual and Minimal art, pushing the medium forward via a plethora of media, including aluminium, silkscreen, varnish, photography, paint rollers and stencils with industrial procedures and techniques made available by mass production. Wool breaks order through repetition and layering, recurring motifs and the reproduction of errors suggesting the breakdown of pre-existing structures. Reductions and erasures exist alongside slips and misalignments, manifesting a tension between depth and flatness.
Throughout his diverse practice, Wool transposes elements from mass culture, such as print media, advertising, music and film, as a means to create a collision between the media of paint and print. The processes of painting, its physical properties and techniques of reproduction, underpin his practice. From his early and iconic stencilled word paintings, which re-worked familiar words and phrases into syntactically abstracted and reduced combinations of letters and forms, to his later work, which mines his own oeuvre for inspiration, Wool’s impulse to exploit the limits of the medium is crucial. While honouring one of the most traditional means of artistic expression, the artist pushes the boundaries of painting, ensuring its continued relevance for a subsequent generation of artists.
The advent of the home studio in the 1970’s democratized both music and art, with cities like New York becoming significant platforms for the convergence of both practices. Partially due to financial instability brought on by urban decay and political neglect, artists embraced a do-it-yourself mentality which inevitably led to interdisciplinary experimentation. Although this time period was marked by metropolitan downturn, the phenomenal successes of these new wave forms of art making led to their ironic commercialization. Through a diverse group of artists and media, New Pleasure showcases the intersection of music and art after punk rock and investigates how artists have taken direct influence from musicians, have participated within either genre, or have performed as musicians themselves.