After Tiepolo, Ensor and Carracci
On January 9, 2010 the Sonnabend Gallery will open “AFTER TIEPOLO, ENSOR & CARRACCI”, an exhibition of new work by Philip Haas.
Evoking Tiepolo’s eighteenth-century ceiling frescoes in Venice, Milan and Wurzburg, Philip Haas’ monumental canvas APOLLO AND THE CONTINENTS uses a combination of painting and photography to depict an elaborate series of interconnecting tableaux of nearly one hundred mythological and allegorical figures in alternately serious and playful poses. On the bottom edge of the picture, the figure of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo himself is shown, Prospero-like, surveying his domain.Also on view are several sketches of details of the larger piece, as well as two Tiepolo-inspired portraits.
The exhibition continues with canvases that evoke the work of James Ensor. Inspired by such paintings as SKELETONS WARMING THEMSELVES, SCANDALIZED MASKS and THE GROTESQUE SINGERS, Haas takes us inside the experiences, memories and obsessive imagination of the Belgian painter James Ensor, using elaborately staged tableaux of masked actors, dancers and life models.
The Annibale Carracci section of the exhibition is anchored by THE BUTCHER’S SHOP, Haas’ response to the iconic early genre subject of the same name by the sixteenth-century Italian master. Other works presented, including BOY DRINKING andST. SEBASTIAN, reveal the painter’s melancholy character and his artistic preoccupations. These images are informed by the depiction of meat and human flesh in art from Carracci to Rembrandt, Soutine and Francis Bacon.
The canvases on display at Sonnabend were made in tangent with BUTCHERS, DRAGONS, GODS & SKELETONS, an exhibition of Philip Haas’ film installations at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, which was named by TIME magazine as one of the top ten art exhibitions of 2009.