Dana Schutz, Big Wave, 2016. Oil on canvas, 120 × 156 inches (304.8 × 396.2 cm). The Barbara Lee Collection of Art by Women. Courtesy the artist; Petzel, New York; and Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin. Photo by Matthias Kolb. © Dana Schutz
Dana Schutz is among the foremost painters of her generation and is part of a group of artists leading a revival of painting today.
Dana Schutz is a concise exhibition of the artist’s recent work. One of the most prominent painters of her generation, the New York–based Schutz (b. 1976, Livonia, Michigan) is known for her distinctive visual style characterized by vibrant color and tactile brushwork. Her large-scale paintings capture imaginary stories, hypothetical situations, and impossible physical feats, such as swimming while smoking and crying. Schutz’s paintings combine abstraction and figuration with expressive imagination, fragmented bodies, banal objects, and quotidian scenes to create oddly compelling and intriguing pictures.
Over the last decade, she has honed her approach to painting, creating tightly structured scenarios and compressed interiors. Her works capture subjects who seem to be actively managing, even fighting, the limitations of their depicted environments—boundaries set by the canvases’ actual borders. Many of her paintings, such as Getting Dressed All at Once (2012) and Shaving (2010), depict distorted bodies, revealing a nuanced exploration of the female body engaged in life’s everyday rituals.
Drawing on the legacies of both figurative and abstract painting, with nods to touchstone figures such as George Grosz and Max Beckmann, Schutz’s unique voice in painting exemplifies the expansive possibilities of the medium today. In her work, the artist explores what can occur within parameters of space and time and how finite zones can unfold into curious and evocative narratives.
Over the course of her twenty-year career, Dana Schutz’s work has been the subject of multiple museum exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including most recently a survey at the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Canada, and an exhibition of new works at the Kestnergesellschaft, Hanover, Germany. This year she was included in the Whitney Biennial, where one of her paintings ignited a vigorous debate around the role of art, artists, and institutions in the representation of race, a conversation that resonates with larger issues in our current political and cultural landscape. The ICA believes that art has the potential to illuminate aspects of our humanity, expose fault lines in the culture, engage experiences both personal and universal, and inspire inquiry and understanding. We invite you to explore Dana Schutz in the galleries and to learn more about the artist’s work and process.