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Viewing Room | Julian Schnabel: The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky

March 12, 2020 - April 18, 2020

Painted in Mexico and Montauk, Julian Schnabel’s latest large-scale works embrace the irregular shapes of their supports-fabric tarps sourced from an ambulatory market in Mexico.

Julian Schnabel, The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky I, 2019, oil on found fabric, 108″ × 90″ (274.3 cm × 228.6 cm) © Julian Schnabel

These works catalogue the possibilities of how and what to paint, revealing a new way of looking at the world that blurs the line between representation and configuration. As artist and writer James Nares explains, “These paintings represent the evidence of their own autonomy. They are metaphoric in an open way, not to interpretation as image but as underlying principles and facets of nature.”

Weather-beaten fabrics provide a temporal point of departure. “Julian is drawn to surfaces and objects that show their own history—scuffed-up cardboard, the discarded sails of sailing ships, Kabuki theater backdrops…he thinks of them as ‘opportunities’—calls them ‘veils of time.’”

Painted with marks Nares refers to as “a kind of mapping of the mind,” the works evoke volcanoes, rock formations, ocean waves, deserts, outer space, all rendered in emotive indigo blues, blood reds, pale pinks and olive greens– eternity. Once a utilitarian object, the fabric ground contains traces of its past life and the perfection of the coincidental opening a window into both our world and one imagined in dense paint. “The paintings are full of dynamic surprises….Small fire, a prism, and a window-like opening in a place with no wall, blue sky beyond…”

Pace’s online viewing rooms offer rich contextual lenses through which to engage with our artists’ work and exhibitions. To inquire about any of the works featured in this exhibition, please email inquiries@pacegallery.com.

We invite you to explore our other Viewing Rooms including Saul Steinberg: Imagined Interiors, James Turrell, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Paul Graham: The Seasons, Arlene Schechet: Skirts, and Noland: Flares.


March 12, 2020
April 18, 2020
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Pace Gallery 25th Street
540 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001 United States
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Julian Schnabel