David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Nate Lowman at the gallery’s 533 West 19th Street location in New York.
Lowman has become known for deftly mining images culled from art history, the news, and popular media, transforming visual signifiers from these distinct sources into a diverse body of paintings, sculptures, and installations. Since the early 2000s, the artist has continually pushed the boundaries of his multimedia approach with works that are at turns critical, humorous, political, and poetic. In his work, Lowman stages an encounter with commonplace, universally recognizable motifs, questioning and revisiting their intended meanings while creating new narratives in the process.
The exhibition features a series of new large-scale, vibrantly saturated paintings that depict “false colour” satellite renderings of hurricanes that have struck the United States in recent decades with increasing frequency and devastation, continuing the artist’s ongoing interest in this imagery. Lowman examines the painterly possibilities afforded by their rendered, non-referential colours, devised to highlight variations in cloud temperature. Overlaid with black dotted and gestural markings akin to those from a blurred Xerox, the resultant canvases play on the tensions between the technological and the painted image, and representational imagery and pure colour.
These works engage in a dialogue with art-historical precedents and influences that range from American pop art and appropriation, and the unconstrained abstraction of colour field painting, while remaining inextricably linked to a contemporary sociopolitical context. While scientific and technological, these images ultimately function in the public media as abstract, iconographic stand-ins for the violence and devastation they represent; they are universally recognized and understood, despite their formless inaccuracy, as representations of real events.
Ranging from Hurricane Andrew, which struck the US in 1992 during the George H. W. Bush presidency, to the more recent Sandy, Florence, Irene, Irma, and Maria, these destructive natural disasters not only highlight the effects of climate change but also reveal the deeply rooted economic and racial disparities of those affected by their devastation. Lowman’s interest in satellite renderings of hurricanes began in 2011 with a painting depicting Hurricane Katrina and continued in 2017 with a small group of related canvases. He returned to the imagery in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which likewise revealed the social and economic inequities of the country and the lack of adequate governmental response. The new paintings in the exhibition present a focused engagement with this iconography and its relevance. Seen together, these works reflect the artist’s fascination with the representation of America and its contradictions and obsessions, offering a complicated image of the nation.
Also included will be a large-scale painting depicting an image of cars stranded at night in a recent flood in Yonkers, New York, drawn from a spectator’s recording of the event that was circulated in the media.
The exhibition’s title, Let’s Go, suggests at once a warning, a provocation, an enthusiastic cheer from the sidelines, and an unravelling. Likewise, Lowman’s multivalent works complicate registers of representation and meaning, ambiguously hinging at the edge of disaster and the sublime, and abstraction and representation.
This will be Lowman’s first show in New York with David Zwirner since the gallery announced representation of the artist in 2019; his first exhibition was held that year at the gallery’s London location.