THOMAS HOUSEAGO (b. 1972) TBC (helmet mask panel), 2013

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Lot 20W P
THOMAS HOUSEAGO
(b. 1972)
Drawn Face IV, 2013

Sold for US$ 112,575 inc. premium

Made in California
Contemporary Art

Online only

11 Jun 2020 ended at 12:00 PDT

Online, Los Angeles

Property from the Collection of Ruth and Jacob Bloom
THOMAS HOUSEAGO (b. 1972)
Drawn Face IV, 2013

graphite, charcoal and acrylic on canvas

84 x 72 in.
213.4 x 182.9 cm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Hauser and Wirth, Los Angeles
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2014

    I wanted to find out where the figure is, what has happened to it, and it's fantastic to search through this history of representation-figuration.
    —Thomas Houseago

    Yorkshire-born, Los-Angeles based artist Thomas Houseago is well-known for his monumental sculptures based on the body and architecture. Throughout his practice in all its forms, the artist explores the nature of embodiment and the interplay between mental and physical being.

    The combination of historical allusion and seemingly impulsive gesture brings an explosive energy to Houseago's work. The artist draws from a broad range of influences—including classical Greek sculpture; African, American, and Pacific tribal art; Renaissance and Modern interpretations of the figure; and musical performance, as well as anime, sci-fi and cyborg characters. Houseago's materials also draw from classical and modernist sculpture, such as carved wood, clay, plaster and bronze- as well as more contemporary materials like rebar, Tuf-Cal and hemp.

    Houseago's paintings, such as TBC (helmet mask panel), 2013, are masterful in their conflation of drawing and sculpture, mapping the transition from concept to form. The canvases typically measure 5 × 4 feet or 7 × 6 feet, and are a confrontation between memory and fantasy, ritual and improvisation, escaping the conventional painterly expectations of illusory space upon the two-dimensional plane. Houseago renders the mask-as-face leitmotif in TBC (helmet mask panel) in acrylic and graphite, offset by black charcoal. Although these "drawn paintings" are conversant with the artist's sculptural language of mass and surface, they redefine the canvas as a mind-expanding site that resists any single interpretation.

    The mask motif is one that the artist settled on years ago, but his use of crayons and pastels came about more recently, when Houseago was draw¬ing with his young daughter. TBC (helmet mask panel) is a highly worked and layered portrait, where the artist uses a skull-like mask as the basis of a universal, egali¬tari¬an, homogenous, full-faced portrait. The masks appear anony¬mous, but each is personal. In TBC (helmet mask panel) we see the psychedelic mental state being explored and intensified by repetitive and obsessive lines across the canvas and shafts of color in a narrow palette, in yellows, greens and blues.

    The visual primitivism of these paintings can be compared to outsider art: naive, unselfconscious and honest, but with a wholeness of form that evokes both a child-like quality and a mature insight into the fragility of human nature. Houseago's works across all media evince myriad references: rough surfaces recall unearthed classical artifacts, while the underlying principles attest to the influence of modern and contemporary masters such as Constantin Brancusi, Pablo Picasso, Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Alberto Giacometti, and Franz West.

    Houseago's work was the subject of a major survey exhibition at the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 2019. Recent solo exhibitions include Lovers, Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2015–2016); Masks (Pentagon), Rockefeller Plaza, New York (2015); Studies '98–'14, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, The Netherlands (2014) and Storm King Art Center, Mountainville, New York (2013).
Contacts
THOMAS HOUSEAGO (b. 1972) TBC (helmet mask panel), 2013
THOMAS HOUSEAGO (b. 1972) TBC (helmet mask panel), 2013
THOMAS HOUSEAGO (b. 1972) TBC (helmet mask panel), 2013
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