Ostendarp Opens Solo Exhibition in New York City

Three paintings by Carl Ostendarp hanging in an art gallery
A solo exhibition of paintings by Carl Ostendarp is on display at Elizabeth Dee Gallery through February 25. photo / Elizabeth Dee Gallery
A painting by Carl Ostendarp includes the exclamation AAH!!
Carl Ostendarp's AAH! AAH! (2017) is part of a solo exhibition at Elizabeth Dee Gallery in New York City. photo / Elizabeth Dee Gallery
January 24, 2017

Over the past two decades, associate professor of art Carl Ostendarp has mined sources as varied as Pollock's drips, Newman's zips, American color fields, pop art, and surrealism to forge his own unique and influential brand of abstract painting. In a solo exhibition that opened on January 21 in New York City, Ostendarp's newest work continues the examination of artists that have intrigued or inspired him.

According to a press release from the Elizabeth Dee Gallery, in this new exhibition Ostendarp looks at the work of artists he has studied for decades — Ad Reinhardt's late black paintings at the Jewish Museum exhibition of 1966, Lee Lozano's wave paintings at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1970, and Barnett Newman's Stations of the Cross shown in the exhibition Lema Sabachthani at the Guggenheim Museum that same year. Like theirs, Ostendarp's work continues to explore "contexts ranging from the emotional, historical and conceptual."

Describing the way this interest is represented in his exhibition, Ostendarp says, "the exhibition as a whole is intended as a response to the social, political, and psychological state of society, not as an expressionistic gesture but as an expression."

The work is presented as a thematic group cycle with the sizes, aspect ratios, and locations of the works in this show related to the architectural geometry of the gallery, creating one complete painting installation. Some of the works share a signature horizon drip-line image that Ostendarp has mainly produced in mural-installation works of the last 10 years, rooted in the iconography of his first stand-alone paintings of the mid-1990s. Others feature opaque painting words sourced from hand-drawn cartoons, such as "ACK!," "ECH!," "ARGH," and "MMP!". Ostendarp says, "These [are] expressions that summon up or refer to unwilled responses like disgust and outrage."

This is Ostendarp's fifth solo show at Elizabeth Dee Gallery, of which he is a founding member. Other recent exhibitions include Blanks at Elizabeth Dee; Everything Falls Faster than an Anvil at Pace Gallery, London; and Pop Abstractions at Garth Greenan Gallery in New York City. Prior to joining AAP's art department in 2000, he taught at several schools including The Cooper Union. Ostendarp received his B.F.A. from Boston University and his M.F.A. from Yale University. He currently directs the Graduate Program of Art at Cornell.