Old men with birthday cakes, explosions of garish house paint, and hypnotic patterns are all highlights of Harmony Korine’s new exhibition in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Harmony Korine: Shadows and Loops, which ends January 16th, is being held and curated by The Frist Center and was accompanied by a talk from Korine hosted by The Frist’s Chief Curator, Mark Scala.
Korine’s exhibition is tucked away behind an exhibit on medieval Japanese weaponry. Walking past ancient swords and armor made with such an intense sense of purpose and practicality gives a startling contrast upon entering Shadows and Loops, where reason and precision are thrown away in favor of chaos and abstraction. “His figurative works have the spontaneity of old-school graffiti, with patches of color, rough textural elements, and random marks developed into characters that have the amorphousness of ghosts,” says Scala.
The strongest pieces are those which fall most in line with his film work: a painting like The Kotzur Gift (below) incorporates what looks like a still from his Trash Humpers (2009) film and smothers it in large, haphazard streaks of industrial paint. Like Korine's films, the pieces are trashy, serendipitous, and above all playful. Some, however, might be surprised to find the paintings less experimental than his films. Says Scala, “Visitors familiar with Korine’s transgressive films that defy boundaries of taste and convention might find the droll restraint in his paintings somewhat surprising.”
It wouldn’t be a Korine project without a little bit of controversy, and the "enfant terrible" filmmaker was happy to provide some during his artist talk on November 10th. Reportedly, when asked about what visual art inspires him, he replied, “Just porn, really.”
For those of you not "in the know," Korine is most famous as a critically-acclaimed screenwriter and director. Getting his start writing the script for Larry Clark’s Kids (1995) as a teenager, Korine’s later filmography includes Gummo (1997), Julien Donkey-Boy (1999), Trash Humpers (2009), and Spring Breakers (2012) starring James Franco and Gucci Mane. As a visual artist, Korine is represented by Gagosian Gallery, and has exhibited his works internationally since the 90s.