Lennon, Weinberg, Inc.
Paul Waldman has long used a practice of juxtaposition to generate tension in his work. From the mid-1960s through the 70s, he incorporated partial images of nude bodies into minimalist structures and created a dichotomy between the ripe contours of flesh and the cool flat surfaces of monochrome painting and geometric sculpture. In later works, oppositions took other forms animal/human, upside down/right side up, and misaligned horizon lines across the panels of a diptych, for example. And he continues to this day to position descriptive representation against abstract grounds that deny the illusion of space.
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In the new paintings, individual or pairs of figures are positioned towards the bottom of each panel of a four by six foot diptych against elaborately detailed decorative grounds. A striking feature of some of the female figures -- besides the flames streaming from their bodies, non-naturalistic skin tones and decidedly strange facial expressions -- is that they have a penis in addition to their female attributes. In Double Digit, a high-heeled figure is shown twice from slightly different angles; her arms push her breasts together as she grasps her male member between her hands. A related foursome of small painted ceramic hermaphroditic figures reveal themselves on plywood pedestals, on view yet absorbed in themselves.
The recent publication of the first monograph about the development of Paul Waldman's work, Paul Waldman: Eros, Art and Magic, makes clear that certain themes run through his work from the start. Yet the objective detachment of the early work separates from the uncompromisingly personal nature of the recent work. As Carter Ratcliff writes in his essay, "Having dispensed with essences, Waldman is now an artist of minute nuance and grand slippages, who invites us to understand that we are indubitably human but unable to know in full what that means or how we might evolve. No longer comforted by transcendent convictions about anything, Waldman understands that truth is always up for grabs. Some falsehoods count as fictions and some of them point to fresh truths."
This is Paul Waldman's second exhibition at Lennon, Weinberg. In addition to Carter Ratcliff, art critic Carol Strickland and St. Louis Museum curator John W. Nunley contributed essays to the monograph which was published by Charta and is distributed by DAP (Distributed Art Publishers).
For images and additional information, please contact Amy Yee at 212-941-0012, by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lennonweinberg.com.