Villazan is pleased to present the solo exhibition titled "For You" featuring a series of works painted over the last nine months by the New York-born artist, Adam Handler. The exhibition will act as a mini retrospective of the artist’s painting and sculpture practice from the last twelve years.
Adam Handler (1986) was born in NYC and grew up in Long Island, New York. As a young child and adolescent, he spent countless hours at his grandparents’s framing factory in Brooklyn. There, his passion for the arts grew and it became inevitable that he also would discover the many possibilities of art. Handler majored in Art History at the State University at Purchase in 2008 and studied Classical Life Drawing in Italy. Adam Handler's works have been exhibited all over the world and today, he is one of the best known artists in the contemporary art scene.
The exhibition will shed light on a newer series of works including his battleground paintings, Ghost Cut-outs and Bronze sculptures. As curator Janet Lehr states about Handler’s work “his characters are reduced to puristic shapes and textures reminiscent of uninhibited adolescence. However, echoing a similar sophistication to Willem de Kooning’s figures, Handler competently and intriguingly allows figure and background to integrate at moments”.
This exhibition is perhaps the most special one for him so far as the artist’s family is from Argentina but the heritage is from Spain. The title For You is directed towards the artist’s grandfather who passed away 9 years ago and played a very large role in shaping his attitudes and the importance of art in the world. When he actually visited Spain last year he had a very visceral reaction to Madrid as if he could feel his grandfather’s presence. Adam Handler's work has always been highly personal and introspective, so he wanted to present this exhibition as a show that his grandfather would have been proud to see.
The Battleground paintings is closely related to powerful characters such as Batman, Spiderman or The X-Men that were depicted on T-shirts worn by children belonging to suburbs neighborhoods in NYC, like Adam Handler. These characters inspired the artist and a whole generation of children that wanted to be something more than their human selves.
Adam grew up as a Jewish kid in New York and he never felt different or really experienced Anti-Semitism as many of his friends or classmates on Long Island that were also Jewish or part Jewish.
Now as an adult and seeing the rising divide in America and the overwhelming amount of Anit-Semitism that is occurring, I turn to the Superhero's that as a child inspired and conquered evil with their superhuman powers and abilities. When I learned that nearly all the American Superheroes that I cherished and admired were created by Jews I felt that I too wanted to create my own small mark on this genre through my painting.
The Ghost cutouts series are somewhat of a bridge between painting and sculpture. Handler began to envision the ghost as more of a three dimensional object rather than a two dimensional character in his paintings. The series was very much inspired by the works of minimalist and color-field artists such as Marc Rothko, Ron Gorchov, Betty Parsons, Otis Jones, Donald Judd, Carl Andre and Eva Hesse.
On the occasion of Adam Handler's solo exhibition, there will also be presented a limited edition sculpture pertaining to this series of ghosts.