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Press Release

Honor Fraser Gallery is pleased to announce The Spirits that Lend Strength Are Invisible, David Ratcliff’s second solo exhibition with the gallery.

Ratcliff’s paintings insist on flatness. Although the elements that comprise his works are insistently layered and multiple, the density is visual rather than material; conceptual and ideological rather than bodily. Images, text and painterly accidents are on equal footing in creating an associative narrative. Alluding to a specifically American subcultural underground, the fragments resolve into meaning and dissolve again into form. He culls from the energies of utopic hopes, dystopic nightmares, fantasy and nostalgia to create a new landscape.

In this exhibition, Ratcliff employs a more multichromatic palate than in previous works, playing not only with clouds of color but with stains of oil that penetrate the surface and lend hints of the visceral. The paintings are meticulously composed but come into being as much a result of painterly chance and accident as deliberate decision. The artist’s hand intervenes in these remnants of popular culture and creates a series of fictions to conjure an alternate psychic reality from our societal detritus.

Ratcliff will create his first site-specific installation and expands his painting practice into the space of sculpture. Creating a floor-to-ceiling composition with worn and stained ceiling tiles, Ratcliff takes a fundamentally banal and ubiquitous material and reorients it to call attention to its pictorial possibilities. As he selects and composes the tiles salvaged from businesses throughout his Koreatown neighborhood, he translates the process of editing and composing for his paintings into three dimensions. The ubiquitous but invisible context of our daily lives becomes foregrounded as the overlooked (and overlooking) becomes the subject of contemplation.

The title of this exhibition is taken from the series of monumental works by Sigmar Polke that employs an experimental approach to materials and to painting itself, referencing a Native American saying to evoke the alchemical mysteries of image making. Ratcliff’s work continues in this vein of transformational storytelling and extends new narratives for our contemporary moment.

David Ratcliff lives and works in Los Angeles. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. He has had solo exhibitions at Team Gallery, New York, NY; Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium; Maureen Paley Gallery, London, UK; and Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. Group exhibitions include Torrance Museum of Art, Torrance, CA; Brand New Gallery, Milan, Italy; PPOW, New York, NY; and the Museum of Modern Art PS1, New York, NY. Ratcliff’s work is included in the public collections of the Frank Cohen Museum of Contemporary Art, Manchester, UK; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; and the Saatchi Collection, London, UK.

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