Troy Brauntuch

Early Work

35 E 67th Street

November 4, 2015 – January 9, 2016

Petzel gallery is pleased to present Early Work, a solo exhibition by Troy Brauntuch on view from November 4, 2015 until January 9, 2016 at the gallery's uptown location, 35 E 67th Street.

Over the course of his four-decade long practice, Brauntuch has appropriated obscure images from a breadth of sources, and rendered works in the dark, alluring medium of pigment on black cotton or black paper. Crucial to this body of work is drawing, and Brauntuch commits his compositions with skillful subtlety using white pastel and other mediums to create ghost-like, obfuscating traces. Early Work uncovers the beginnings of this seductive and poetic approach, showcasing the artist’s meticulous use of materials and intuitive compositional attention to reveal a unique perspective on the process and style in Brauntuch's oeuvre.

Early Work marks the first time these large works, created between 1976 and 1983, have been exhibited together. Each work, selected by the artist and borrowed from both private and public collections, demonstrates Brauntuch’s long-standing practice of exploring the re-presentation of images and documentation: In the case of Early Work, the sources were produced in Germany under the Third Reich.

Indeed, one of the most captivating works in the exhibition—a photographic triptych, Untitled (Rally) (1980)—consists of three eight-foot panels each depicting a man’s head hovering on a purple background: The repetition of this portrait, and the triptych’s U-shape installation (calling to mind an altarpiece) can be read as both dreamlike and ominous. This subject matter resurfaces in White Head (1981), a white pencil drawing depicting the studio of Joseph Thorak, one of the official sculptors of the Third Reich. This work is part of a larger suite of drawings Brauntuch produced in 1981.

The accompanying exhibition catalog makes these connections perspicuous: Original source documentation taken, for example, from drawings produced by prisoners at Dachau concentration camp, is shown alongside the artist’s piece in which it is appropriated. View the catalog here.

Troy Brauntuch was born in 1954 in Jersey City, NJ. He received a BFA from the California Institute of Arts and currently lives and works in Austin, TX where he teaches. Brauntuch has received numerous distinguished awards among them the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and most recently the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2010. Brauntuch’s work is in many prominent public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His work has been exhibited widely in numerous exhibitions including the Whitney Biennial, New York (2006); "The Pictures Generation," The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2009) and The Illusion of Light, Palazzo Grassi/Francois Pinault Foundation, Venice (2014).

Petzel Gallery is located at 456 West 18th Street New York, NY 10011 and 35 East 67th Street New York, NY 10065. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM.
For press inquiries, please contact Janine Latham at janine@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467.

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