Kenny Schachter/ROVE @ 132 Perry Street

March 10th — April 6th

Kenny Schachter ROVE is pleased to present a selection of recent works by Kenny Scharf.

Fame came to Scharf in the crazy 80s, and in the last ten years he has had over 25 solo shows. Now living in Los Angeles, he’s still brewing his peculiar brew of Pop Surrealism; in his own words, “reaching out beyond the elitist boundaries of fine art and connect to popular culture” through his art. However, the connection between pop culture and fine art is not confined to the art that ends up on gallery walls. Through his various public works, private commissions, cartoons, advertisements, and merchandise, he has been able to bridge the high and the low quite dexterously, with social awareness, artistic ability, idiosyncratic imagery, and above all else, a kooky sense of humor.

On view are two series of large-scale paintings, ranging in size from 30 x 40 inches to 8 x 8 feet, all executed in oil on canvas.

One series features large, shiny, colored, globular blobs floating on black or white backgrounds. Synesthesia reigns in Scharf’s wacky world, with titles like Blubble, Glubblobz, Lavup, and Splooge. It seems Scharf not only exhibits the anti-elitist aesthetic of Léger, but his technique recalls that of the so-called “Cubist Charlie Chaplin,” with forms seemingly airbrushed–as opposed to hair brushed–on the canvas.

The other series of paintings show signs of the Scharf we’re more familiar with, with his signature bubble-headed creatures, worms, and loony-balloon characters, melding, mixing, and vying for space in the claustrophilic, compactly composed canvases. Scharf’s palate, ranging from pale yellow to magenta, is as expansive as the cornucopia of wild creatures populating the paintings.

In a way, these recent works hark back to an even more primal pop universe than the starry, sci-fi paintings from earlier in the artist’s career. Whether they’re pure, Lava Lamp-like colored forms or playful, protean, smiling species, the constituents of Scharf’s cosmos seem caught colliding and commingling near the beginning of time and space, and there’s definitely some big-banging going on.

—Benjamin Berlow