Robert Therrien

September 20 - October 20, 2001

Robert Therrien -
ROBERT THERRIEN
No title, 2001
Pencil and ink on paper
54-1/4 x 45-1/2 inches (137.8 x 115.6 cm)


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Opening reception: Thursday, September 20 6 – 8pm

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of Robert Therrien's new sculpture, large scale drawings, and paintings on paper -- genres he has used concurrently throughout his career.

The correspondences that Therrien has established among these genres are extremely intricate and highly inter-related. For instance, if we are acquainted with his universe we cannot separate our viewing of his sculptures from our memory of their versions in graphite or paint. The surface of a sculpture can sometimes be a layer of painted paper; or, from certain points of view, it can appear as a crisp profile, flattened out like a line drawn in space. Therrien's habit of framing all his finished works on paper comes from his desire to coax paper into the realm of a dimensioned object. Throughout his body of work, the membrane between sculpture and drawing is thin, or porous, and this sets into play a fluidness of forms and a shifting of shapes and impressions.

Such metamorphosis is evident in Therrien's delight in subverting scale and balance, as his sculpture of a giant table and chairs; or, a very tall base that supports just at its edge a heavy teardrop-like object; or, a drawing of tiny running feet on a fearlessly large sheet of framed paper. This play arrests our attention, animates our perception of forms in space, and envelopes us in an encounter that is dreamy, strange, and tenderly beautiful. It is a bit like Alice's eating of the mushroom: one moment, we are small and the art is large; the next moment, the reverse springs into being. This comparison is apt, too, because Therrien's sensibility brings together extreme sophistication with something very simple, yet very mysterious.

After a career of over thirty years, Robert Therrien is regarded as one of the most unique and brilliant American artists. His work is held by major public and private collections around the world, including the Tate Modern, MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Walker Art Center, Whitney Museum, Broad Foundation, Anderson Collection, and the Panza Collection. Large exhibitions of Therrien's work have been mounted by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

The Gagosian Gallery exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with essay
by Norman Bryson.