Marc Straus

Gallery

Over the course of a thirty-year career Doug Argue’s paintings are best described as palimpsests – layers of radiant brushwork and scrims of crisp stenciled letters envelope the entire canvas to suggest the passage of time, light, motion, and how the past informs the present.

The atomized letters, “particulate matter” as Argue calls them, are culled from literary classics to thirteenth century poets such as Petrarch. They work harmoniously with other visual elements to create the possibility for unlimited patterns and meaning. Argue’s use of letters are not meant to be read, rather, he releases them back to their abstracted, ideographical function in the way they float, stretch, skew, or dance en masse in swathes across the plane. If the source is from the pages of Moby Dick, then perhaps the swirling sea of alphabets metaphorically conjures Captain Ahab’s moment of madness.

This interest in literature began early in his career: a well-known 90’s monumental painting of a chicken factory shed filled with thousands of caged chickens was prompted in part by a short story of Franz Kafka in which a dog contemplates where the world gets its food. It is again on view and the centerpiece at the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis.

Picasso’s revolutionary Les Demoiselles d’Avignon became the subject of Argue’s recent lyrical composition, Footfalls Echo In The Memory, 2017. Les Demoiselles d’Avignon was met with outrage, distaste and outright shock when shown in 1907, but the image has since been accepted as a symbol of modern Avant-Gardism. It has even permeated the public consciousness in an endless variety of marketing paraphernalia. Argue is interested in such ambivalence. Crosshatching over the five prostitutes, Argue’s text suggests the chatter of critics, or the volumes of academia that surround this enigmatic image. In the New York Subway Map series, Argue embellishes the iconic train lines with sinuous sweeps of lettering and brushstrokes that lend a sense of the city’s vibrant beat.

Unlike much of the process-driven abstract contemporary art, Argue’s work is rooted in ideas and allegories; with every mark Argue is crafting his story. In the end, Argue’s arresting compositions unbind recognizable images and literature to offer a new charged visual language, one that advances a dazzling view of a universe in flux charged with energy and coloratura. His opus is written with a paintbrush.

Doug Argue (b. 1962, Minnesota, United States) has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions. Most recently, the One World Trade Center in New York City commissioned three paintings to be installed in the lobby. His works are held in the collections of major public, private, and corporate collections including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, and the Weisman Art Museum. Argue has received multiple awards including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant (1995) and the Rome Prize (1997). The non-profit Save Venice Inc. presented Scattered Rhymes, an exhibition of four monumental paintings by Argue that was held in conjunction with the 2015 Venice Biennale. Argue is represented by MARC STRAUS in New York.

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Selected Works
White Heat
2017
Oil on Canvas
73 x 55 inches / 185 x 140 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Doug Argue

White Heat
2017
Oil on Canvas
73 x 55 inches / 185 x 140 cm

2017
Oil on Canvas
64 x 45 inches / 162.5 x 114.3 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Mostly White

2017
Oil on Canvas
64 x 45 inches / 162.5 x 114.3 cm

2017
Oil on Canvas
56 x 75 inches / 142 x 190.5 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
White Water

2017
Oil on Canvas
56 x 75 inches / 142 x 190.5 cm

2017
Oil on Canvas
99 x 95 inches / 251.5 x 241 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Footfalls Echo in the Memory

2017
Oil on Canvas
99 x 95 inches / 251.5 x 241 cm

2017
Oil on Paper
40 x 60 inches / 101.6 x 152.4 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Dream Song 7

2017
Oil on Paper
40 x 60 inches / 101.6 x 152.4 cm

2017
Oil on Paper
40 x 60 inches / 101.6 x 152.4 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Dream Song 12

2017
Oil on Paper
40 x 60 inches / 101.6 x 152.4 cm

2017
Oil on Canvas
60 x 40 inches / 152.4 x 101.6 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
New York City 3

2017
Oil on Canvas
60 x 40 inches / 152.4 x 101.6 cm

2016
Oil on Canvas
78 x 54 inches / 198 x 137 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
New York City

2016
Oil on Canvas
78 x 54 inches / 198 x 137 cm

2016
Oil on Canvas
54 x 78 inches / 137 x 198 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
London

2016
Oil on Canvas
54 x 78 inches / 137 x 198 cm

2017
Oil on Canvas
44.75 x 64 inches / 113.6 x 162.5  cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Untitled

2017
Oil on Canvas
44.75 x 64 inches / 113.6 x 162.5 cm

2017
Oil on Canvas
90 x 81 inches / 228.6 x 205.7 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Leaves of Grass

2017
Oil on Canvas
90 x 81 inches / 228.6 x 205.7 cm

2015
Oil on Canvas
107 x 160 inches / 271.8 x 406.4 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Cosa Mentale

2015
Oil on Canvas
107 x 160 inches / 271.8 x 406.4 cm

2015
Oil on Canvas
69 x 90.25 inches / 175 x 229 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Mother Tongue

2015
Oil on Canvas
69 x 90.25 inches / 175 x 229 cm

2016
Oil on Canvas
70 x 94 inches / 177.8 x 238.7 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Ramesess

2016
Oil on Canvas
70 x 94 inches / 177.8 x 238.7 cm

2016
Oil on Canvas
70 x 73 inches / 177.8 x 185.4 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
The Neighborhood

2016
Oil on Canvas
70 x 73 inches / 177.8 x 185.4 cm

2015
Oil on Canvas
88.5 x 134 inches / 224.8 x 340 cm -  Marc Straus Gallery
Time and Time Again

2015
Oil on Canvas
88.5 x 134 inches / 224.8 x 340 cm

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