Marcel Dzama: The Last Winter
Marcel Dzama is internationally acclaimed for his delicate drawings, hand-tinted with watercolour and root-beer. Nine months ago Dzama began to make paintings on canvas that exhibit the same eccentric aesthetic sensibility, and bizarre cast of characters. This will be Dzama’s first solo exhibition of paintings in London.
The starting-point for these small paintings on canvas are swirling washes of acrylic paint, abstract and painterly, that then become a microcosmic dream-world in which his characters surface and a fateful event occurs.
The title of this exhibition, The Last Winter, reflects Dzama’s imminent move to New York after a record-breaking cold winter in his hometown of Winnipeg, Canada.
“The Last Winter is a powerful allegory for me. Because I am leaving my childhood home, because I am leaving the isolation. The more recent work is tending toward growth, hope and revolution. This series combines those conflicted feelings.
Much of the last year I found myself drawing and painting inside of my home. It was one of the coldest winters on record for Winnipeg. Temperatures would sit at -55C for days. Often we would sit in our home with our snow pants on. Going outside was not an option.
In all of this I found solace in creating a cast of characters in my drawings and paintings which helped keep me company during those long periods of isolation. We talked a lot about leaving. I think most Winnipeggers do. Chanting, "last winter, last winter" helped a lot.
Because of my geographical isolation, most of the news that I hear comes from the radio. I think my work reflects that distance. My characters are small, and pretty much out of touch with the rest of the world. When the news is bloody and fearful, my work reflects it.”
This will be Marcel Dzama’s second solo exhibition in London, following from the huge success of his exhibition Drawings for Dante in our previous gallery space in 2002. In addition to Dante Alighieri, Dzama’s influences are William Blake, Samuel Beckett and the films of Fritz Lang and Werner Herzog.