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Palo Alto

Damian Loeb

Wishful Thinking

Past
May 19–Jul 2, 2021

Celebrating the relevance of representational work in a conceptual world, Damian Loeb extends the genre of landscape painting to encompass new realms, translating the 19th century Romantic ideals of the sublime into contemporary images of the universe.

Exhibition Details

Damian Loeb
Wishful Thinking
May 19 – Jul 2, 2021

Gallery

229 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto

Above: Installation view, Damian Loeb: Wishful Thinking, May 19 – July 2, 2021, Pace Gallery, Palo Alto © Damian Loeb, courtesy the artist, Pace Gallery, and Acquavella Galleries

Pace Gallery is pleased to announce representation of New York-based artist Damian Loeb ahead of his inaugural solo exhibition with the gallery opening May 19, 2021 in Palo Alto. Pace will co-represent the artist alongside Acquavella Galleries, with a focus on bringing his work to an even larger audience. Wishful Thinking will be on view through July 2, 2021.

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Damian Loeb, Pygmalion and Galatea (after Jean-Léon Gérôme), 2020, oil on linen, 60” x 60” © Damian Loeb, courtesy the artist, Pace Gallery, and Acquavella Galleries

Wishful Thinking, Loeb’s debut presentation with Pace, is an off-world homage to the history of allegorical painting and comprises eight new paintings created in 2020 and 2021. Celebrating the relevance of representational work in a conceptual world, Loeb extends the genre of landscape painting to encompass new realms, translating the 19th century Romantic ideals of the sublime into contemporary images of the universe. He manipulates scale and composition to capture the spiritual awe of extra-terrestrial scenes, using classical art tropes to convey the escapist beauty in these strangely familiar expanses. Alluding to the Pygmalion myth, the show’s title refers to the desire of a certain reality rather than what exists. These works present distant landscapes as welcoming and a possible future home, yet simultaneously highlight the failure of verisimilitude—the fact that they will forever remain an “ideal”.

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Damian Loeb, The Martyrdom of St Paul (after Tintoretto), 2020, oil on linen, 48” x 48” © Damian Loeb, courtesy the artist, Pace Gallery, and Acquavella Galleries

Following the tradition of early Baroque painters, these transcendent paintings seek to offer a spiritual salve for modern times and reference classical myths to examine themes such as martyrdom, faith, and sacrifice in their contemplation on the human condition. In Danae and the Shower of Gold (after Rubens) (2020), viewers see the gaseous folds of Jupiter mirror the modesty of fabric and plentiful flesh presented in Rubens’ painting of the same name.

Moving toward a new level of abstraction, the artist invites viewers to contemplate questions about an individual’s place in the infinite through this new body of work. Loeb’s paintings are “wishful thinking”: a meditation on fate as it manifests itself in beauty, and a false resolution—offered by myth—to find lost hope by anthropomorphizing the vast and mysterious images of other worlds, seemingly closer and better than the present one.

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Damian Loeb

Damian Loeb is a self-taught artist. He first came to attention after being discovered by Jeffrey Deitch of Deitch Projects in 1997. Loeb’s art is informed by cinematography and the image-soaked culture of contemporary times. The artist dissects and recomposes life as experienced through the eye of a director, taking resonant, emotional moments and distilling them into representational work to highlight the sense of the universal and the uncanny that subtly erupts in everyday life.

Learn More

Palo Alto — Damian Loeb, Wishful Thinking, May 19–Jul 2, 2021