Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce an exhibition of Andy Warhol’s “Knives”, his series of paintings and drawings from 1981-82. Warhol chose the kitchen knife as his subject -- powerful in its potential as a utilitarian tool for anything from cooking to murder. The “Knives” reflect the artist’s ongoing obsession with transforming the everyday object into an image suggestive of the violent and macabre underside of (American) culture.
Such an austere image had both innocent and sinister associations in Warhol’s hands. In these striking works, Warhol’s signature palette of black, white and silver yields painterly patterns of light and dark reflections through his silkscreen technique. Working from polaroid photographs of the knives, Warhol would reproduce and enlarge the images, altering them by layering both the positive and the negative. Like ghostly apparitions, the “Knives” as subject transcend their utilitarian function and evoke an ambiguous, malevolent presence. An investigation of shadow and light has always been a formal theme of the artist’s work, apparent since the evolution of his silkscreen technique in the early sixties.
This is the first comprehensive presentation of the “Knives” in New York.