Sphere of influence: Sherrie Levine displays works inspired by past masters
Photographer, painter and sculptor Sherrie Levine has long blazed an idiosyncratic path. In reflection of this, Chelsea’s David Zwirner gallery is celebrating her latest creative endeavours in an eponymous new show.
Appropriation is key to Levine’s practice – she frequently references 19th and 20th century artists for her art. In fact, she’s photographed Van Gogh paintings from a text on his work, based watercolours on Fernand Léger’s paintings and even turned out cast-glass copies of Brancusi sculptures.
This time, Levine has developed a more unlikely pairing. In doing so, she’s also taken cues from a somewhat unconventional source – an ad for SMEG refrigerators plucked from the British magazine The World of Interiors. In this case, Levine sets the scene with four actual SMEG refrigerators in saturated shades of pink and punchy orange. (‘The World of Interiors is my favourite shelter magazine,’ the artist confesses.) In a bizarre juxtaposition, she offers up 12 monochrome paintings after Renoir’s Nudes on mahogany, a nod to the very hues found in the iconic 19th century painter’s works. Three paintings and a single refrigerator constitute an individual work.
‘Sherrie looks to Donald Judd when it comes to minimalism and repetition but now she is incorporating found objects which happen to be in a retro style,’ says Larry List, who penned the show catalogue and knows the artist personally. ‘She’s fusing contemporary culture and the notion of impressionism,’ he adds in reference to the Nudes. ‘It’s about pushing the boundaries of painting [and] sculpture as well as both installation and conceptual work.’
But what’s Levine’s intent in such an unlikely provocative pairing? ‘I’m hoping some sort of synergy results,’ she has said.
If that’s not enough, also on display are works ’after’ Joseph Victor Chemin, Walker Evans, Man Ray and, most alluringly, a gleaming beach ball drawing on the work of pop art supremo Roy Lichtenstein.