Powerhouse New York painter Doug Argue brings a show of entirely new work, Transitions, to Oceania for the very first time. Piermarq is humbled by the opportunity to exhibit one of the international art market's rising stars, this new body of work presenting cosmically sublime abstraction previously unseen in Australia.
Doug Argue (b. 1962, Minnesota, United States) has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions internationally, spanning four decades. Most recently, One World Trade Center in New York City commissioned three large-scale paintings to be installed in the lobby. His works are held in major public, private, and corporate collections including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, and the Weisman Art Museum.
Argue has received multiple awards including The Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (1995) and the Rome Prize (1997). The non-profit Save Venice Inc. presented Scattered Rhymes, a series of four monumental paintings by Argue that was a major exhibition in the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Argue’s paintings are often made with layers of radiant brushwork and scrims of crisp stencilled letters that envelop the entire canvas to suggest the passage of time, light, motion, and how the past informs the present. In technique, his is a dichotomy of precision and painterly gesture. In content, his paintings are cerebral, with interweaving narratives and layers of meaning.
The atomized letters, “particulate matter” as Argue calls them, are culled from various texts including writers such as Petrarch, Melville and Rimbaud. They work harmoniously with other visual elements to create the possibility for unlimited patterns and meaning. Argue’s use of letters are usually not meant to be read, rather, they serve a spatial or rhythmic function. Like visual musical notes, they float, stretch, skew, or dance en masse in swathes across the plane.
Argue's Dyslexia has lead to a fascination with how the brain registers and interprets symbols, the endless combinations of which can form equally endless possibilities. Hence, letters become for him a metaphor for the micro getting thrown into the macro and somehow, randomly, creating Life.
Doug Argue is a consummate painter capable of prodigious works that straddle realism and abstraction. In “Genesis,” one of his three large paintings recently commissioned for the lobby of the new World Trade Center in New York City, Argue’s painting is veiled with sweeping swathes of crisply painted letters. It is as though we are placed “in the beginning,” witnessing a cosmic explosion. Argue has freed the letters from the Book of Genesis, making them available for the next generation to create the new meanings needed to move forward.