Richard Prince: Nurse Paintings
September 20 – October 25, 2003
Barbara Gladstone Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Richard Prince. Never before seen in the U.S., Prince’s “Nurse” paintings reflect his distinctive approach to popular culture. An avid book collector, Prince appropriates covers of pulp novels that present the iconic white-uniformed Nurse and then applies layer upon layer of rich, brilliant hues to his printed canvases. The paint acts both to obscure and reveal the images lying beneath as Prince, through a film of paint, consciously allows traces of background to emerge in ghost-like forms while the Nurses themselves and their corresponding titles are left visible.
Through his repetition and reworking of the Nurse novel covers Prince plays upon the anonymity of the figures and the inevitably unstable issues of identity, authenticity and authorship. Prince’s painterly brushstrokes, drips and splatters that pervade the canvas and shroud the Nurses also evoke the era of the pulp novel, the era of Abstract Expressionism. Thus, Prince allows us to reconsider the post-war aesthetic through the codes of mass culture as unearthed for us by the keen eye of an ardent bibliophile. The Nurses partake in Prince’s game of irony as the intense colors and near theatrical play of light reveal them to be seductresses of a hypnotically fictional world. One increasingly becomes aware of the sneaking suspicion that something sinister lies within these emblems of caring and nurturing.
Richard Prince was born in 1949 and lives and works in upstate New York. A retrospective of Prince's paintings and photographs was held in 2002 at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, which conjoined the previous exhibition of paintings at Kunsthalle Zurich and photographs at Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel. Other solo exhibitions include: MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House, Los Angeles; MAK Vienna; Kestner Gesellschaft, Hannover; Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Kunstverein and Kunsthalle, Dusseldorf; IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencia; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
A fully illustrated catalogue designed by the artist with an essay by Michael Collings will accompany the exhibition.