Steven Parrino - Carte Blanche New York Sunday, November 7, 2010 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The estate of the artist, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Steven Parrino is a painter’s painter, who chose to reawaken that medium at a time in the early 80s when painting was considered dead. Parrino injected adrenaline into this dying patient by going head on into the realm of abstraction and the monochrome. His approach was at once transgressive and reverential —physically violent and sensual. His contorted, folded, and disfigured monochrome canvases are as much objects as they are events. Parrino’s life and his work moved in tandem as one pure consistent commitment. He followed a punk, nihilist aesthetic, influenced by low popular culture such as comics, motorcycle culture, horror movies and kitsch 1970 television series. For most of his lifetime, Parrino’s success was mostly centered in Europe and he only made paintings when there was a show or exhibition that required them. Because of this economy of purpose, the body of work that exists is relatively small and only a few dozen paintings remained in the artist’s estate at the time of his death in 2005.
    After a proclamation by Parrino in the late 90s to only make black or silver paintings, Schism’s Kiss is one of the few exceptions and one of the most monumental works ever produced by the artist. Measuring nearly 14 feet in total, the one monochrome, flat and still panel directly abuts the contorted, disrupted, and draped right panel. Both canvases are executed in pure white enamel. This work is Parrino’s most direct reference between the established history of monochrome literally kissing across the schism to the new brash, radical and punk violated canvas. Parrino’s work is one part Pollock’s muscularity, one part Fontana’s violation of the picture plane, one part Warhol’s challenge to the hierarchy of images and one part Stella’s true belief in abstraction and gesture. If Johnny Cash’s raw style, genius and blue collar characteristic had a parallel in the world of monochrome it would be Steven Parrino.


Schism’s Kiss

Painted in 2002
Enamel on canvas.
Left Panel: 84 x 84 x 1 1/2 in. (213.4 x 213.4 x 3.8 cm); Right Panel: 84 x 84 x 9 1/2 in. (213.4 x 213.4 x 24.1 cm); Overall: 84 x 168 x 9 1/2 in. (213.4 x 426.7 x 24.1 cm).
Signed, titled and dated ‘Steven Parrino 2002 Schism’s Kiss’ (on the stretcher).

$600,000 - 800,000 

Carte Blanche

8 November 2010  6pm
New York