Regen Projects is presenting a new body of large-scale paintings by renowned artist Anish Kapoor. Over the last 40 years, Kapoor has engaged a diverse range of media and materials to probe the qualities and contradictions of form and perception. This is the artist’s seventh exhibition with the gallery since 1992 and the first devoted entirely to his painting practice. The exhibit opens Sat. March 4. and runs till April 15th.
The works in this exhibition demonstrate Kapoor’s deft handling of paint, with abstract forms created in thick, blood-red impasto set against ethereal expanses of vibrant blue and fleshy peach tones. Otherworldly yet brutally corporeal, these ambiguous forms suggest various states of expulsion. Some erupt in plumes of smoke while others luminesce in darkness; still others do not appear to be forms at all so much as the explosive aftermath of furious strokes and visceral smears of paint.
Long celebrated for sculptures that exploit material, volume, and color to subvert optical perception, over the past decade painting has become an increasing focus in Kapoor’s practice. These works are informed by the same terms that constitute his sculptural language and driven by his abiding preoccupation with the material and immaterial. Kapoor explains:
“To make a work out of pigment is to refer very clearly to the materiality of it: pigment is like earth or clay, stuff that sits on the ground and yet has a kind of weird, wonderful, dreamy quality—it’s what colour does. Or similarly, to hollow out a stone and paint the interior very dark blue, or to do as I am doing in these paintings. It’s the same language.”
— A conversation between Anish Kapoor and Homi K. Bhabha, “Come in under the shadow of this red rock…”
from Anish Kapoor: Painting (Walther König, 2022, pp. 362–369)
These paintings animate Kapoor’s longstanding concern with the metaphysical dualities of birth and death, being and nothingness, the transitory and the eternal, the entropic and the sublime—states which convulse together on his canvases, leaving behind the aftermath of what has taken place. Kapoor has encapsulated this sense of temporality in the works—of something that has occurred and may continue to occur—in naming them “painting-acts.” It is within these “painting-acts” that he materializes primordial dramas which seem to precede or altogether eschew rational cognition.
In an essay published in the first monograph devoted to Kapoor’s painting practice, curator and art historian Norman Rosenthal describes the artist’s uncommon mastery of the medium:
“Often the colors and the dense realities that each of Kapoor’s paintings contain come into violent and fluid collision, erupting into pure abstracted landscapes the likes of which have surely not been seen since the late, strange and unexpected works of the English artist J. M. W. Turner… What is so extraordinary about Kapoor’s new paintings, making them inherently new and thus revelatory to their viewers, is that the substance that is paint is applied not randomly, but rather in an aleatoric, warlike series of games of chance. These ultimately lead to a new kind of order that conjures up in each painting—metaphorically of course—a new universe that has its own compositional force created through color.”
— Norman Rosenthal, “Colour, Colour, Always Colour!”
from Anish Kapoor: Painting (Walther König, 2022, pp. 170–172)