Spencer Lewis - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale Hong Kong Thursday, March 30, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Marking the artist's auction debut in Asia, Tennis cage is an exemplary painting by American artist Spencer Lewis, who was born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1979, and now lives and works in Los Angeles. Evidenced by the success of his recent solo shows at Massimodecarlo in Hong Kong; Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder in Vienna (2022 – 2023); and Vito Schnabel Gallery in St. Moritz (2021), Lewis has garnered international recognition for his gestural compositions executed on raw jute canvases and cardboard.


    As showcased by Tennis cage, Lewis employs vivid, saturated hues to imbue his pieces with an intense physicality which he expresses through complex tactile surfaces. Recalling the rhythmic compositions of the Abstract Expressionists and action painters (see for example, Composition (1955) by Willem de Kooning) (https://www.guggenheim.org/artwork/992), Lewis composes his paintings using streaked lines and smears of paint, as well as rough, slashed strokes that energetically intersect in a display of organic force. Building up layers of colour through wild, even frenzied movements, the artist deliberately pushes his paintings to the brink of exhaustion to tap into their raw and unbridled potential.


    Detail of the present work

    Lewis’ compositions may appear unpredictable at first glance, but they are actually rooted in a well-defined methodology and structure that nods to the artist’s deep interest in pictorial organisation. Indeed, whilst Tennis cage makes a striking first impression with its bold blue and red lines, look closer and you'll find subtle details, such as the abstract yellow loop with gridlines above the midpoint, which resembles a tennis racket when viewed in the context of the work's title. As you delve deeper into the painting, each mark and sign adds to a rich tapestry of imagery that challenges the viewer's perception, creating a compelling story that draws the viewer in.


    Lewis achieved his BFA from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 2001 and his MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. His work is held in numerous public collections, including the National Museum of African American History and Culture, part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Lewis currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

    • Provenance

      Van Doren Waxter, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner


Tennis cage

signed and dated 'S Lewis 21 S Lewis 2017-2020' on the overlap
acrylic and oil on canvas
190.7 x 100.5 cm. (75 1/8 x 39 5/8 in.)
Executed in 2021.

Full Cataloguing

HK$100,000 - 200,000 

Sold for HK$127,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 31 March 2023