David Salle has been recognized as one of the most important figurative painters of the past forty years. Born in 1952 Salle is an American painter, printmaker, and stage designer who helped define postmodern sensibility. He studied under the legendary John Baldessari at California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California before erupting onto the contemporary art scene in New York in the early 1980s.
Skarstedt will be presenting an exhibition called New Paintings by David Salle at their Chelsea gallery this April. The exhibition will feature all new work from two recent series: the Late Product Paintings and the Silver Paintings.
Like many artists of his generation, Salle drew a lot of inspiration from existing pictures. His paintings normally combine distinct art-historical references, with images appropriated from popular culture, stock photography, advertisements, design, and the everyday. After producing performances and installations in the late 1970s, Salle began to make paintings in which he overlaid these sorts of found images, giving them a whole new meaning to be interpreted by the viewer. Since the mid-80s, his paintings have included allusions to the works of the Baroque painters Velázquez and Bernini, to the Post-Impressionist Cézanne, to Giacometti and Magritte, and to American post-war art.
While working in the art department of a romance and pornographic magazine he gathered photographs from the company’s archives, later using them as source material for his paintings. By juxtaposing visually unrelated images, Salle manages to create original, complex, and disjointed stories that deny any one interpretation by his audience.
David Salle’s New Paintings are characterized by both immediacy and complexity; they feature vibrant colors and extremely energized, dynamic compositions. Salle’s Late Product Paintings can be seen as both revisiting and providing an extension to his 1993 series, Early Product Paintings.
Salle’s Late Product Paintings explored the relationships between subjects. Collecting images from a variety of sources, Salle combines them into paintings, as one would create a collage. Though often surprising, his connections are never forced, and all of his work has an improvised quality. Salle says of his use of collage: “I want the differences to show, but to somehow be resolved anyway. It’s symphonic. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a kind of orchestrator.”