Marlborough is pleased to present Sad!, the first U.K. solo exhibition by New York-based artist Andrew Kuo. Comprising a suite of his signature text-accompanied charts, the exhibition is a concise expression of the artist’s transformation of data points into hard-edged paintings. While the works engage an almost algorithmic level of complexity, they draw from straightforward subjects: loss, longing, self-help, relationships and the like. By applying metrics, specific dates and timelines to his personal struggles, we begin to see the works as individual chapters in a melancholy autobiography with each painting connecting to the adjacent one and each collective exhibition another volume in an ongoing narrative.
While Kuo has toyed with notions of representation before (charts appearing to resemble a rudimentary face for example), the direct referencing of landscape painting is remarkable. The painting Fast/Slow depicts fields of fractalized multi-colored shapes coalescing into a grand, pixelated mountain range in a kind of inversion and refutation of art historical heroicism. In Fear of Nothing, a mass of rendered data swells into a cresting wave like some crowd-sourced Hiroshige on raw linen. Kuo recognizes that landscape is now digital and seemingly limitless, a cultural spur in the mode of historical phenomena like Manifest Destiny or the Space Race.
Encompassing literature and songwriting as well as coding, blogging and other internet-inherent strategies, the work is informed by an unprecedented flood of available information. Crammed with heartstring-strumming details that are arranged in increasingly byzantine spatio-temporal relationships, we are witness to a hand-painted, personalized news feed. Like the cyberspace he models and critiques, Kuo is funny, relentless, and poignant, knowing precisely how to embody and explicate this complex network of ideas that have perforated contemporary consciousness and forever altered it.