12417 - 20170116 - Frist Center presents paintings by filmmaker and artist Harmony Korine - Neshville, Tenn - 04.11.2016-16.01.2017


Harmony Korine. Caker Plino, 2015. Oil, acrylic, house paint, and ink on canvas, 101 x 72 in. © Harmony Korine. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photography by Robert McKeever.
An exhibition of paintings by Nashvillebased filmmaker and artist Harmony Korine will be on view at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts from November 4, 2016, to January 16, 2017. Korine, who is best known as the filmmaker/auteur of such films as Kids, Gummo, Trash Humpers, and Spring Breakers, is also an accomplished painter, having shown works in museums throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Japan, since 1999. The twelve large and dynamic works of Shadows and Loops have the improvisatory spirit of outsider art and share some of the disruptive qualities of his films.

Seen together, the crudely painted figures, shadowy sublayers, and psychedelic looping patterns of the paintings offer up an environment of alienated weirdness, with an emphasis on raw expression and impulsivity rather than intellectual clarity. “His figurative works have the spontaneity of old-school graffiti, with patches of color, rough textural elements, and random marks developed into characters that have the amorphousness of ghosts,” said Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala.

Viewers familiar with Korine’s films will recognize cinematic references in some of the paintings as well as his practice of mixing high and low production aesthetics and materials. In the nightmarish The Kotzur Gift (2014), paint is smeared over photographic images of characters wearing grotesque masks of creepy older people, such as those seen in Trash Humpers. In another celluloid connection, the painting Mini Sitter 2 (2014) features a filmstrip-like sequence of black-and-white photographs of a room where his family babysitter is seated. This looping tableau is overpainted with white spatters and drips that obscure parts of the seemingly neutral setting.

In Korine’s Chex paintings, a series of works in which a checkerboard-like grid is painted over abstract backgrounds of shapes, the grid ripples and twists to create competing allusions, often to hypnotic effect. “The surfaces are disorienting more for their optical effects than the unsettling content of the figurative works, although they retain a pungency that seems central to the sensations Korine wants to elicit,” said Scala. Korine’s continuing body of visual work show him to be an artist of psychological complexity, adept at drawing repressed forces to the surface. While his polarizing films are known for their visual intensity and dark humor, Scala noted, “Visitors familiar with Korine’s transgressive films that defy boundaries of taste and convention might find the droll restraint in his paintings somewhat surprising.” Korine hopes that his abstract paintings will alter perceptions. The artist said, “I’m chasing something that is more of a feeling, something more inexplicable, a connection to colors and dirt and character, something looping and trancelike.”

Nashville-based film director, screenwriter, and artist Harmony Korine (b. 1973) studied dramatic writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, dropping out after a semester to pursue a career as a skateboarder. In 1993, the photographer and director Larry Clark invited Korine to write a script that became Kids (1995), their film about drug-using, homophobic, sex-obsessed skaters in New York. Subsequent films include Gummo (1997), Julien DonkeyBoy (1999), Trash Humpers (2009), and Spring Breakers (2012). As an artist, Korine is represented by Gagosian Gallery and has exhibited his work in museum shows throughout the United States, as well as in Belgium, France, Germany, and Japan.