Kayne Griffin Corcoran is pleased to present a solo-exhibition of work by Ken Price. This is the third exhibition of the artist with the gallery and will comprise of works on paper ranging from 1967-1995.
“Drawing is a way of seeing what you’re thinking about,” Price told curator Douglas Dreishpoon in 2003. “Most of my work comes from intuition, imagination, things I’ve discovered during the making process.”
Ken Price’s works on paper pull from the everyday and the impossible. His subject matters range from interior scenes devoid of objects or figural representation to exterior landscapes rampant with cars, freeways, billboards, and neon signs—Los Angeles, encapsulated. A constant favorite, and a form that he explored at length in both his drawings and sculptures, is the cup. Price saw the cup as a “pre-ordained structure” and pursued it until the form lost is functional allure and became a biomorphic abstraction. Cups provided a pre-established structure that could be worked over and stretched out without breaking. In a conversation with artist Vija Celmins, Price mentions how he was pursuant of a “local truth, which is limited but specific.” This negated the notions of abstract expressionism that came before him and the exploration of a universal truth that was devoid of everything but the purity of the work itself. Price was after a genuine guttural reaction that elicited an emotional response—something more human and playful at times.
Drawings preceded any other type of work for Price. “It’s where essential thinking goes on, and it’s the soul connection too,” he said. It allowed for flexibility in form and gave multiple avenues where a work could lead to, exist in, and be thought about. “I can look at different areas of imagery that never have to be resolved…I can play around with color…among other things, a good drawing can cut right to the essence of something.”
Price used humor and eroticism hand in hand in his work. Aside from his drawings, his sculptures, with their sinuous curves and folds, bring to the fore a certain level of sensuality as well. Through honing his skills, Price saw “technique” as a means to express feelings, rather than as an end in itself. Speaking on the work of Price, Lucy Lippard has said, “[his works have] a beautiful and rather horrible strangeness that appeals to both the mind and the senses.”
Ken Price (1935-2012) was born in Los Angeles and received a B.F.A. from the University of Southern California before receiving an M.F.A. from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred in 1959. Since his first solo exhibitions at Los Angeles’ influential Ferus Gallery in the 1960s, Price has shown at such institutions as the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Drawing Center in New York, the Getty Centre and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Tate in London and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. His work can be found in the permanent collections of such institutions as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Following Price’s death in 2012, LACMA staged a major retrospective of his work, which subsequently travelled to the Nasher Sculpture Centre in Dallas and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
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