To begin the thirtieth year anniversary of the Christopher Grimes Gallery, we will be presenting, Excerpts from the Capital Project, 1988-2008: The Bleach Paintings and Perfume Site Photos, vintage painting and photographs by Peter Hopkins.
The Bleach Paintings were first exhibited in New York at Colin DeLand’s groundbreaking gallery, American Fine Arts, in 1988. Using only bleach as a substitute for paint the artist produced a simple and powerful body of work that at once scrubbed clean the space of painting from the textual overload of that time, but acted also as a kind of x-ray of what a painting could be.
Long thought lost in a near catastrophic gallery flood the paintings resurfaced in 2003 upon the passing of Mr. DeLand, and the closing of the gallery. Newly cleaned and restored, the work is an important body of work that clearly marks the beginning of the artist’s twenty-year investigation of the intersection between the conceptual and the social. The exhibition is both an examination of that work and a means to refer to Hopkins’ newer works based on earlier methods.
Accompanying the Bleach Paintings is another body of work from this same period: the Perfume Site photographs. The exhibition was originally mounted in 1991 at Galerie Marc Jancou in Zurich. The artist documented the introduction of perfume into rooms of a villa once lived in by Carl Jung during a crucial phase of his battle with Freud over the nature of the subconscious. The resulting works are de-constructed as a virtual crime scene. The viewer is left to re-connect the parts back into an artificial whole. Perfume acts here, polemically as an opposite to bleach, as a reminder of this other social dimension of art. Hopkins states that often what is most important about an artwork is not what it tries to show, but rather what it wants to hide.
Bleach and perfume, the cleaning of a space, and the resulting odor are the basis of this historical exhibition. From Airchitecture: Guarded Breaths and the [cough] Art of Ventilation, the Canadian art critic and writer Jim Drobnick states, “…to surprise and awaken individuals to an aromatic experientiality that can reconfigure habitual relationships between body, self, city, and society…the surreptitious scents engage on an almost subliminal level, catching passersby while in states of vulnerable distraction.”
Peter Hopkins received his BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, in 1982. Since the mid 1980s he has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums throughout the United States and western Europe including France, Germany and Switzerland. His works have been exhibited in prestigious venues such as The New Museum in New York, Thread Waxing Space, the Folkwang Museum in Essen, the Musee d’Art Contemporain in Geneva, the Corcoran Biennial, the Neue Galerie in Graz and the Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as Documenta IX.