David Korty's latest show with Sadie Coles HQ marks a significant development in his painting. His new works continue to explore the terrain and topography of his native Los Angeles – a curving highway, hacienda or gas pump – yet they move strongly towards abstraction through a stylised reformulation of their photographic source material. Litter on a pavement is depicted through a network of interlocking planes that evoke synthetic Cubist collages. In another painting, sketches strewn across a table form a similarly angular structure, and the pictures they contain are reduced to automatist squiggles.
The human figures in Korty's paintings are also examined in terms of elementary shapes. A painting of figures assembling a puzzle on a yellow tabletop incorporates minimal geometric forms and vivid colours reminiscent of the De Stijl movement, with the bodies radically simplified in the same fashion as the objects. Elsewhere, a girl‟s head is represented through expanses of uniform tone; yet Korty's interest in the decorative possibilities of basic shapes and arabesque outlines is evinced by the butterfly shapes in her hair. Korty's compositions involve a fluid and rhythmic interplay of line, shape and colour that distances us from their source images. His use of photographs as a starting point for his paintings derives from the camera's power to isolate and frame a moment: “When the slides are developed and I drop one into the projector it‟s been mediated and flattened, sort of 'cooled off.' Such a process of mediation anticipates the way in which Korty's style itself translates and remodels reality: space is distilled into pools of hazy pigment; and perspective is flattened in order to elucidate underlying linear structures and patterns.
Indeed, as critic and novelist Rachel Kushner has observed, “depth, everywhere, wavers in and out of view, as the painting seems surface-worked and perspectival”. Korty's handling of paint compounds his works‟ sense of flatness and materiality: the pigment has often been granulated, scratched or blotted off (in a technique reminiscent of Warhol's 'blotted line' drawings) to reveal the texture of the underlying canvas.
David Korty was born in California in 1971. He trained at the Rhode Island School of design and the University of California, Los Angeles. David Korty has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and Europe. He has recently exhibited at Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles (2010) and IM Art, Korea (2009). His work has featured in group shows including Painting Codes: I Codici della Pittura, Galleria Comunale d'Arte Contemporanea di Monfalcone, Monfalcone, Italy, 2006; Landscape Confection, The Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio, 2005; My Head is On Fire But my Heart is Full of Love, Charlottenburg Exhibition Hall, Copenhagen, 2004; Painting on the Move, Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Basel, and Kunsthalle Basel, 2002. In 2008 a new book on the artist's work featuring a text by Rachel Kushner was published by Sadie Coles HQ, Michael Kohn Gallery and Koenig Books.