Greene Naftali Gallery is pleased to present our third solo exhibition with LA-based painter David Korty. Known for his phosphorescent depictions of the smoggy Los Angeles skyline, Korty draws on his recent travels to New York, New Zealand, and Egypt in seven new large-scale paintings and related works on paper. The surfaces of these canvases— heavily layered with gestural drips of oil paint and looping geometric patterning in colored pencil— depart from the architectural precision of Korty’s early works yet still share his trademark palette of acid hues.
While working from photographs, Korty sidesteps the well-worn discourse around the proliferation and anonymity of images. With the fluid mark-making of plein-air painting, his images suggest a visit to places half-remembered without the certainty of a photograph. Perhaps certain passages suggest the photograph’s tendency to abstract and distort the everyday— the leaves of a tree, for instance, dissolve into a tangle of squiggles and dashes. Yet, the persistent materiality of the paint counters any collapse into pure representation.
Korty engages the historical model of such French painters as Bonnard, Vuillard, and Matisse as well as the visionary American landscape painter Charles Birchfield to formulate a contemporary visuality with an emphasis on human perception rather than photographic reproduction. Korty’s use of color— rooted in the transcendental light of his own Los Angeles— recasts ordinary sights as hallucinatory experiences. Details fade out of focus, creating an ambiguous space of abstraction within the visual field. The visual effect is heightened by way of contrast to the cool detachment and deadpan framing of his subjects.