DREW BEATTIE AND BEN SHEPARD:
Purple cycle one


October 30 - december 12, 2015

The Chimney is pleased to present Purple Cycle One by Drew Beattie and Ben Shepard. The artist duo, known as DBBS, started in 2013, and for their second solo exhibition present a series of monumental paintings made specifically for the uniquely raw setting of The Chimney.

These large-scale paintings begin outdoors, upstate in Columbia County, and are worked on unstretched and flat under a giant tree at the edge of some woods rising toward a ridge. Each one starts with the same carbazole dioxazine violet, applied in varying degrees of transparency across the whole surface. The fields are animated by how the washes run and bloom on sloping ground, by how the rain and sun and falling leaves alter them, left outdoors to collect that information, to ripen toward a certain tonality. Worms and slugs hang out on them, making trails in the wet paint, deer and raccoons walk across them at night. Initially, the paintings are collaborations with nature. Sooner or later, they get rolled up and returned to New York. In the studio, the fields of transparent purplish wash or pattern become imagistic paintings.

Five colors, including the violet, make everything, Each move is reacted to by another, both artists improvising at the same time on the same painting, looking for some right arrangement, world or sensation to arrive and hold on as visual meaning. Like earlier work from DBBS, the paintings aim at fast and confident performance as a way of landing right ratios of what is known and unknown. When finished, figuration and abstraction are kept in an oscillation of arrival and dissolve, many things happening at once, cooperating and conflicting.

“Heads, figures, non-figures, places, scenes, stories and abstraction are concurrent, operating with interchangeable labels, establishing an ambient sensory presence that we can claim as a painting. Being done means the painting is recognizable as something unrecognizable, like seeing something for the first time, or meeting someone who has you confused and excited.”  DBBS

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Drew Beattie and Ben Shepard met at the University of Chicago in 2004, In October of 2013 they started a collaboration, making big paintings at a breakneck speed, initiating a full-scale collaboration that is ongoing. Their first exhibition, DBBS, was shown at Storefront Ten Eyck Gallery in June 2015. 

A collaborative spirit has woven in and out of Drew Beattie’s work throughout his career. His paintings, drawings and sculpture look for meaning through hybridized fusions of imagery and abstraction. His most recent solo shows, Betty re Testers, stair Z and My Cookie, were at Hansel and Gretel Picture Garden from 2012 to 2014. He has participated in group shows at several New York galleries including Eli Ping, Martos, Edward Thorp, Envoy, Feigen Contemporary and Roebling Hall, as well as Galerie Zurcher in Paris and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard in Cambridge. Beattie’s collaborative work with Daniel Davidson was shown in the exhibitions Painting Now in 2004 and Lateral Thinking: Art of the 1990s in 2001 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. Beattie & Davidson had solo exhibitions at the Berkeley Art Museum in 1994 and White Columns in 1995, and their work was also included in exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. They were the subject of multiple solo shows at Stephen Wirtz Gallery and Gallery Paule Anglim in San Francisco, and Joseph Helman Gallery in New York, and were included in group shows at The Drawing Center, Exit Art, Franklin Furnace and PS 1. Beattie & Davidson were the recipients of the Rome Prize in Visual Arts from the American Academy in Rome in 1994.

Ben Shepard graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in philosophy, and now lives and works in Beijing. He initiated the Kanye West for Mayor of Chicago campaign, and is seeking to turn one hundred houses into free schools for adults.