Julien Nguyen, Untitled, 2022
Michael Werner Gallery, London is pleased to present Interior, an exhibition curated by Andrew Bonacina.
Interior is conceived as a gathering, convened in the grand yet domestic rooms of Michael Werner Gallery. Each work a portrait in one sense or another, they share a charged intensity driven by a desire to capture the interior lives of their subjects, and in so doing come to read as portraits of interiority itself. Navigating spaces simultaneously bodily, psychological and architectural, the exhibition will feature new paintings, sculptures and ceramics by a multi-generational group of artists, many of whom are connected through webs of friendship. New and recent works by Kai Althoff, Nairy Baghramian, Enrico David, Jake Grewal, Christina Kimeze, Florian Krewer, Andy Robert and Willa Wasserman will be brought into dialogue with historic works by painters including Gwen John, Francis Picabia, Anita Steckel, Félix Vallotton and Édouard Vuillard. The works in Interior revel in an atmosphere of fraught intimacy that emerges only in the mire of knowing and being known.
Jake Grewal, One and One, 2020
Kai Althoff, Untitled, 2022
Mary Stephenson, Baby Blue Door, 2022
Gwen John, Young Woman in a Red Shawl, ca. 1920
Gwen John is the exhibition’s point of departure. Her quietly intense studies of a small group of sitters lay bare her intimate relationships and a longing to unearth truths. Like the rooms they inhabit, her bodies become enclosures, revealing and deflecting what lies within. Through repetition and a spare painterly technique that appear to make the sitter and the room appear as one, John created portraits in which subjectivity is suffused in every detail, at once present and ineffable.
Francis Picabia, Masque, 1949
Hilary Lloyd, The Lost Records, 2022
The artists in Interior pursue their subjects with similar searching and range of formal gestures. In his translucent paintings Julien Nguyen builds worlds around his muse, returning insistently to his subject in ways that incrementally reveal his inner world. Gilbert Lewis creates intensely empathic works of subjects he encountered through his role as an art therapist; a tender portrait of his recurring subject Tony offers a glimpse into a relationship that deepened and evolved through the act of sitting. Intimist painter Édouard Vuillard weaved his sitters into the domestic fabric of the spaces they occupied. Marcelle Aron seated in the Greenhouse at Ormesson, 1902, sees Vuillard’s subject shimmer and retreat into a warm white light.
Raphaela Simon, Fall 2, 2022
Stanislava Kovalcikova, Le dernier cri (Charcot’s Revenge), 2022
Victor Man, Girl with Laughing Cat, 2021
In the gallery’s Winter Garden, paintings and sculptures by Enrico David, Anita Steckel, Christina Kimeze and Raphaela Simon limn the architectural threshold between inner and outer space. A new sculpture by David takes the form of a lightning rod, channeling its electric force through a double-headed character that folds in on itself.
Lionel Wendt, Untitled (Portrait of a Seated Lady), ca. 1930-1944
Lionel Wendt, Untitled (Head Among Twigs), ca. 1942
Willa Wasserman’s ethereal portraits of herself and a close circle of friends are painted on metal, their fugitive surfaces rich with observational detail yet leaving the subjects out of reach. Sitters fracture, multiply and dissipate under the gaze of Félix Vallotton and in a new work by Frank Auerbach, their boundaries softening in the process of excavation. As in John’s portraits which her subjects become inextricably woven into space, in works by Nairy Baghramian, Anne Low, Walter Price, Raphaela Simon and Mary Stephenson, subjects collapse almost entirely into architecture and its furnishings, as if consciousness has escaped the body and settled in the rooms and chambers they inhabit.
Angus Suttie, Dish, ca. 1987
Angus Suttie, Sculpture, ca. 1980-1989
Anne Low, Oso, 2021
Nairy Baghramian, Eule (Owl), 2007
Janette Laverrière, La Commune, hommage à Louise Michel, 2001
Artists include: Kai Althoff (b. 1966), Frank Auerbach (b. 1931), Nairy Baghramian (b. 1971), Enrico David (b. 1966), Jake Grewal (b. 1994), Gwen John (1876–1939), Christina Kimeze (b. 1986), Stanislava Kovalcikova (b. 1988), Florian Krewer (b. 1986), Janette Laverrière (1909–2011), Gilbert Lewis (b. 1945), Hilary Lloyd (b. 1964), Anne Low (b. 1981), Victor Man (b. 1974), Julien Nguyen (b. 1990), Christodoulos Panayiotou (b. 1978), Francis Picabia (1879–1953), Walter Price (b. 1989), Andy Robert (b. 1984), Raphaela Simon (b. 1986), Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956), Anita Steckel (1930–2012), Mary Stephenson (b. 1989), Angus Suttie (1946–1993), Félix Vallotton (1865–1925), Édouard Vuillard (1868–1940), Willa Wasserman (b. 1990), Lionel Wendt (1900–1944).