Leslie Sacks Contemporary is pleased to announce its summer exhibition Portraits and Still Lifes. Drawing from the gallery’s extensive inventory, the exhibition facilitates a dialogue between Modern, Post-War and Contemporary interpretations and the evolution of two of the most enduring art historical subjects. Portraiture by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Marc Chagall are juxtaposed with those by Alex Katz, Elizabeth Peyton and R.B. Kitaj. Still lifes by Georges Braque and Edouard Vuillard contrast alongside David Hockney, Marc Quinn and Roy Lichtenstein. Other artists presented are Chuck Close, Bruce Cohen, David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Donald Sultan, Wayne Thiebaud and Andy Warhol.

Featured in the exhibition is Pablo Picasso’s Long-Haired Young Girl, 1945 alongside Alex Katz’s contemporary portrait Sophie, 2012. Characteristic of Picasso’s style of this era, Long-Haired Young Girl is depicted close up, poised with regal self-possession. The use of soft, flowing contours accentuates the elements of her face, while also serving to integrate her distinct features into a two-dimensional continuum. Katz’s Sophie similarly presents a beautiful young woman engaging directly with the viewer. Sophie is rendered in Katz’s iconic painterly manner, tightly cropped and flattened with cutout-like features, distortive and idealized, conveying the beauty of the sitter. Picasso and Katz approach their subjects in markedly differing styles in terms of color, form, perspective and line, but both seek to capture a spirit and insight into the sitter. Katz and Picasso are celebrated for their portraiture of women—most significantly Picasso’s muses were his wives and daughters and for Katz it was his wife, Ada.

Edouard Vuillard’s pastel Fleurs, 1928-30 and Mark Quinn’s pigment print Portraits of Landscapes 3, 2007 take distinctly divergent approaches in capturing the still life. Vuillard’s domestic depiction of a table of flowers and teapot invokes a sense of familial warmth. The soft hues of the pastel stand in stark contrast to the cold, bright floras of Quinn’s Portraits of Landscapes 3. Disparity in the tone of the works is most obvious in the different mediums employed and the artists’ own practices. By no fault of his own, Vuillard would never have imagined the possibilities that technology has afforded Quinn. Respectively, the sculptural influences in Quinn’s abstracted hyper real floras and the painterly gestures of Vuillard’s pastel are true to the sensibility of each artist’s respective eras. Quinn’s imagery is bathed in swaths of vivid, saturated colors and the erotic interplay of forms takes center stage. This work observes the transience of life and speaks to Quinn’s fascination of the inherent human desire to halt time. Yet the vibrant colors and voluptuous forms are deceptive, masking the fact that the flowers are frozen and no longer living—they are dead, but cannot decay. Vuillard’s Fleurs exist subtly and quietly in-situ accentuating an idealized domesticity, inviting one to enter the scene while Quinn’s up-close, in-your-face composition keeps the viewer outside.  

Leslie Sacks Contemporary is in the Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica.

Gallery hours: Tues-Fri 10-6, Sat 11-6 Online: www.lesliesacks.com Email: diana@lesliesacks.com Call: 310 264 0640

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