Carlye Packer is pleased to present The Happy Organ the first solo exhibition of Los Angeles-based artist Cassidy Putnam, on view September 23rd through October 28th.
In Putnam’s work form evaporates into thick streaming billows of pigment. Fields of color gurgle up with layers of paint below them. Where the material quality of the paint appears to take over from the painting’s internal logic is where the artist’s own unique take on composition, composition not as structure but as lyric, shines with the most intensity.
These paintings are narrative in the sense that the viewer can feel as if they are moving through and against them, but they lack duration, everything unfurls in an instant which is to say they have the temporal scope of an explosion. Putnam’s references are clear and various, she borrows indiscriminately from the stylistic propositions of the French academy, the smoggy atmospheric passages of JMW Turner, and the slapdash arabesques of the abstract expressionists.
In her work, style, stripped of its historical relevance, becomes a way of talking about restriction and convention, a way in turn of gesturing at the infinite possibilities of paint by attending to and ventriloquizing the various regimes that have attempted to limit what makes an image. In this exhibition, the artist turns directly to Flemish and Dutch hunt paintings from the 17th century, perhaps a perfect example of what is sometimes called derogatorily genre painting. And yet she revels in the visual tropes that constitute the category, and exploits its emotional undercurrents: the feelings of anticipation, surprise, and closure that together from the rhythmic structure of the hunt.
Putnam’s refreshing return to the joys of pure abstraction, is marked nonetheless by the struggle of her images to withstand the force and weight of figuration.
For inquires contact firstname.lastname@example.org.