Putting All The Pieces Together
Nov 1 – Nov 26 2017
Opening Reception: Wednesday, November 1 2017 6 – 8 pm
Press release by Ishraki
Skeleton Surrounded, 2016, 11 x 14 inches
BIGGERCODE Gallery is proud to announce its first solo exhibition of the intricate and mesmerizing works of Howard Gross. Putting All The Pieces Together will showcase an oeuvre of Gross’s masterfully crafted and deeply personal drawings, paintings and sculptures created between 1980s to the present. Some of the pieces in the exhibition are exclusively being shown for the first time in more than 30 years. The viewer is invited to take a stimulating, surreal, and symphonic journey through the incredibly complex and beautifully intricate works of oil paintings, scratchboard drawings, pen and ink watercolors and clay sculptures.
Emerging From Obilivion, 1985-7 A Place For Alice, 2017
After a series of traumatic events which included the death of his mother, and the sudden loss of his studio, Mr. Gross decided to move to New Orleans in 1984 to rebuild himself. During this vulnerable and shattered state, Mr. Gross turned to painting again after a photography and sculpture hiatus. The intensity of his experience is captured within the frames and titles of his earlier pieces like Landmine Soliloquy (1985-7), and You’re Tearing Me Apart (1985-7). Fragmentary forms reminiscent of disemboweled bodies hover suspended in a space of sky blue and blood orange respectively. Mr. Gross recalls vivid memories of watching his veterinarian uncle dissect and operate on animals as a young boy. He feels that those memories have had a significant influence on his early paintings. Mr. Gross’s work however transcends a mere abstraction of his memories and becomes a record of discovery and invention. Works like Emerging From Oblivion (1985-7) present a deeply elaborate language of invented forms that inhabit a space of organically layered compositions.
Similar forms populate the sculptures and the scratchboard drawings. On the one hand, the scratchboards reflect Mr. Gross’s uniquely personal visual language, while on the other hand they are also incredibly stimulating spaces for free association. The images look cellular and microscopic in detail / pattern, as though one was looking through the eyes of an electron microscope. However, it is important to note that Mr. Gross’s work has no clear reference to scale. The forms oscillate between the microscopic and the macroscopic effortlessly. The painstakingly detailed images that flow out of Mr.
Gross are both mysterious and awe inspiring in nature. They are highly organic and carry a tone of naturalistic rhythm. Underlying each piece is a layer of personal poetics; some of which is made conscious through their titles such as Helena and Her Friends (2005), which is an ode to a friend who passed away at a young age, while others are further abstracted through titles like Garden Of A Thousand Secrets (2015).
About the Artist:
Howard Gross (b. 1946) received his MFA in painting from the Art Institute of Chicago in 1972.
After successfully exhibiting with the Alan Frumkin Gallery for a couple of years in Chicago, he decided to move to NYC on the advice of Robert Smithson. During his first years in NY, he immersed himself into the conceptual art scene of NYC. In 1976 he documented cracks on the sidewalks of new york for an exhibition at the prestigious Ok Harris gallery. For his next concept he decided to document the art world with its eyes closed. Significant figures of art history such as Richard Tuttle, Louise Bourgeois, Larry Gagosian, Leo Castelli and 200+ other artists, collectors, board members and friends appear in an unprecedented series of intimate closed eyed portraits. Gross exhibited the portraits for the first time in the late 70s at the Truman gallery and then upon special request, he rephotographed some of the figures 20 years later for a solo show at MOMA PS1. Mr. Gross’s work is in the permanent collection of various prestigious public and private collections such as The Whitney Museum, NY, The International Center for Photography, NY, The Weatherspoon Art Museum, NC, and the private collection of Agnes Gund.
Mr Gross currently lives and work out of New York, NY.