Press Release
8 March 2001
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Michael Werner Gallery is please to present an exhibition of late works by the renowned French artist, Jean Dubuffet (b.1901 - d.1985.)

An innovator and individualist in modern painting, Dubuffet glorified the painting process, unlike his contemporaries who focused on the idea of the subject. Freeing himself of the academic rules, Dubuffet experimented with materials such as dirt, clay, grass and rubbish, creating oddly textured layers. Paradoxically, Dubuffet's unusual application techniques -- he hurled crushed gravel-filled paint at the canvas and mixed in found objects, he applied paper to the rough surfaces to create transfer images, like lithographs ' belied the systematic structure of his paintings. He always worked in series, each with a title and theme identifying it with, for instance, philosophical theories, memory, the primitive, the insane, and the renegade.

Dubuffet had a capacity for self-renewal and his paintings continued to evolve, but it was only in his later years that they became less constructed and more fluid, every surface covered with dense colors, shapes and images. Even though the works were still in series, they were less controlled, and titles were often based on feelings and mood: 'dramatic' 'vision' 'fluid' 'giving' This exhibition will present a group of 18 works from 1981-1984, high-lighting the spontaneous nature and frenetic pace of his work as he neared the end of his career. As Dubuffet wrote in 1984,

"These paintings are exercises for training a new way of seeing: a seeing that is liberated from the specious nomenclature with which humanism aspires to analyze and inventory the moving chaos of the universe by retaining only the phenomena that humanism employs (tree, cloud, pebble' and that form the basis of our vocabulary. Challenging this vocabulary and the entire humanist reading of the universe, these paintings replace this reading with one which omits identifiable fixities and is based, instead, on dynamisms and impluses, on continuities and mutations. Such a new way of seeing enables thinking to become mobile in its turn. These paintings strive toward an initiatory function."

Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am until 6pm. The exhibition will be on view from 8 March through 28 April 2001. A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

Please contact the gallery for further information.