They look super John.  Everything is angled and pointy. You did it!  Now you can relax perhaps?  Are you happy?

I learned a lot about painting by making these works. I wanted to make something like Moretto da Brescia, but crippled by all my modern vices of phones, porn, fear of aging, impatience etc. I imagine for the centre painting (Gala) that it could have had twenty or thirty homogenizing glazes, each one followed by a little session of “special time” with a little part. But that’s not part of my actual life with these things—I don’t have the attention span for a modern Moretto—I don’t think anyone does. In the end I’m an expressionist, acting on impulse and then playing the patient wife to myself, trying to make the thing presentable.

– John Currin to Sadie Coles, 2022


For his seventh exhibition with Sadie Coles HQ, John Currin is showing three new paintings at the Bury Street gallery in St James’s.

Alluring and perverse, Currin’s latest muses express his dual preoccupations with the graphic virtuosity and romantic idealism of classical figuration and vanitas scenes, layered with subversive stereotypes surrounding the body and eroticism that pervade the present day.  The canvases depict a group of three female nudes, Gala, and two individual nudes, Silver Hippy and Gold Hippy.

Barely adorned in swathes of luscious cloth, his figures’ languorous postures, sensuously attenuated limbs and swollen abdomens, recall the idealised portrayals of the Renaissance Masters. Currin’s meticulous realism and subtle distortions, however, conversely displace the allusion of romantic naïveté and deference with the guise of abject modesty. The figures oscillate between paradoxical registers of youth and age, beauty and decay, object and subject, the sensual and the grotesque; simultaneously disrupting and fusing the binary visual conventions of femininity to satirical effect. 


John Currin (b. 1962, Boulder CO), obtained an MFA from Yale University, New Haven (1986), following a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh (1984). Currin has exhibited internationally with major solo exhibitions including My life as a Man by John Currin, Dallas Contemporary, Dallas (2019); Paintings, Museo Stefano Bardini, Florence (2016); DHC / ART Foundation for Contemporary Art, Montreal, Canada (2011); John Currin meets Cornelis van Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, The Netherlands (2011); and in 2003 a mid-career survey of his painting which travelled to the Serpentine Gallery, London, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. The same year, a travelling exhibition of drawings was organised by the Des Moines Art Center.