Kevin Appel

3 July - 9 August 2008

Two Rooms welcomes Los Angeles artist Kevin Appel to New Zealand as part of the gallery’s Artist in Residence programme. Appel will be spending six weeks in New Zealand to produce a new series of paintings for Two Rooms.

The Two Rooms Residency provides international artists the opportunity to work in Auckland for a period of up to three months and to interact with the New Zealand art establishment. Previous residents have included photographers and filmmakers Bridget Smith, Runa Islam and Isaac Julien whose residencies involved trips through the more remote parts of New Zealand. Appel will be the first painter and studio-based artist at Two Rooms.

Throughout his career Kevin Appel has engaged in a dialogue with architectural space; in particular the cool lines of modernist American architects.  His most recent works however, with clever remodeling, reduce the vernacular American home to the sum of its parts.  Pipes, plumbing and shards of wood emerge from the interiors of log cabins and tree houses to create semi abstract assemblages playing with scale and proportion.   Patchworks of stripes, textiles, wood grain, Formica and bricks, painted with exquisite precision and perfect geometry, humorously caricature modernist design.

Elements of the great outdoors and rudimentary structures collide with crisp contemporary pattern, creating overlapping piles of swirling debris. A complex spatial layering of collage, compact the works into a flat plane. There is confusion as to whether this is a construction or a collapse.  Interior spaces are turned inside out hinting at some domestic crisis or is it simply nature exacting its revenge on the suburban sprawl.   

Appel describes his intention for the work in New Zealand as “ piles, structures, fauna, and places – built from dissonant surfaces and patterns; part hippie caravan, part dissolution of protective space”. The Iconic New Zealand bach may also provide rich material for his architectural inventory.

Widely exhibited internationally, Kevin Appel has had solo exhibitions at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, Wilkinson Gallery in London, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Museo Rufino Tamayo in Mexico City. His works have been included in the group exhibitions; “Drawings Now: 8 Propositions,” Museum of Modern Art, New York; and “Painting at the Edge of the World,” at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.