The Skarstedt Gallery have expanded their locations on New York's Upper East Side and London to a brand new space in New York's historic art district, Chelsea. Their inaugural exhibit, 'Fire and Oxidation Paintings', features experimental artwork by artists Yves Klein and Andy Warhol from various periods of time ranging from 1961-1978.
The earliest pieces in this exhibit are that of Klein's Fire Paintings, made through strenuous experimentation in France in the early 1960s, where he began experimenting with fire as an art medium. With a fireman standing close by his side, Klein used a large blow torch to burn abstract shapes and objects into large pieces of cardboard, creating a collection of haunting and ethereal figures. The finished work bears a strong resemblance to photo negatives as well as heliographs, but with the use of fire, rather than light.
Warhol first delved into abstraction by focusing on various scientific experiments the following decade. He was mainly interested in the use of human urine as a catalyst on sheets of copper foil and metallic paints, now famously referred to as his 'Piss Paintings'. Warhol created these works as direct parodies of Jackson Pollock's famous splash paintings, with the urine becoming his original take on abstraction, which dominated the New York art scene in the 1950's.
The paintings were made by laying canvas onto the floor, coating them with copper based paints and having his assistants, or visitors to his famous factory, urinate directly onto them, while the paint was still fresh. As the canvas dried, the oxidised copper would change hues to vivid greens and deep bronzes. Warhol rarely used his own urine, as he considered it too much work, having to know exactly where to urinate. Later on, Warhol unsuccessfully experimented with painting urine directly onto canvases with brushes, but it proved to be too difficult and the results were underwhelming.
'The Fire and Oxidation Paintings' exhibit will be on display at the new Skarstedt Gallery in Chelsea until June 21st.
Skarstedt Gallery, 550 W 21st Street, New York, NY, 10011