When one looks at [Mr. Lichtenstein’s] paintings as handmade readymades, the problems are much more complex… It becomes art through a process that forces the critic outside art as such to become a sort of social critic.
― Brian O’Doherty, 1963
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings by Merlin Carpenter. The show considers the hand-painted object’s capacity to engage with and complicate the language and history of the readymade.
Merlin Carpenter’s work grapples with the potential relationship between painting and the readymade; and the possibility of collapsing the ideas that distinguish these practices. Since the 1990s the readymade object has been an integral line of inquiry in Carpenter’s work; and in more recent years he has presented a number of readymade works that hang flat on the wall like a painting. Carpenter’s new hyperrealistic paintings push the boundaries of painting into the discourse of the readymade in another way: the five works are so highly finished that they appear like a product, delivered from elsewhere. In this stark new presentation, Carpenter encourages the audience to both critique the authenticity of the paintings and simultaneously accept the role of the artist's hand.