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Pretty Paintings

Aug 30 - Sep 23, 2023

Adam Himebauch

Bird of Paradise, 2023

Acrylic & Aerosol on canvas

48 x 36 in. (122 x 91 cm.)

Shin Haus is thrilled to present Pretty Paintings, by Manhattan-based artist and fixture of the Lower East Side creative community, Adam Himebauch. After moving to New York City in 2011, the artist established himself as a thoroughly unique and highly protean maker. His art has taken many forms over the years, notably performance, and he is revered for his humorous tongue-in-cheek satirization of American politics and popular culture, frequently using the monolithic imagery of Pop Art as a jumping off point.

Pretty Paintings are packed with whimsy and brimming with life. These abstracted nature scenes offer a lively and novel alternative to the highly academic landscape works synonymous with the past. Although these works appear to be collaged, the hard edges contrasting the soft gradients are all paint, tricking the eye of the viewer and provoking contemplation on the dissonance between our personal perceptions versus reality. Although flooded with vibrant colors accentuated by multiple light sources, the balance of nature remains prominent in the works’ texture and composition. The echoing shapes further establish the symmetry inherent in the natural world, giving the paintings a sense of innate order and synchronicity despite their chaos.

The works are based on a series of plein air paintings completed during the pandemic, mostly in the Midwest and from a lengthy cross-continent journey from Chicago to Alaska, centering the artist’s lived experience as the basis for his artistic exploration. The vividness of the color palette is so bright it borders on jarring, immersing the viewer in Himebauch’s relentlessly bright imagination. Embodying a color palette that could not actually be found in nature centers the artist’s autonomy to create whatever reality they please, and decenters the boring and inane seriousness that often dominates the art world.

At its core, the main purpose of these Pretty Paintings is to be just that, pretty. Although the artist cites Abstract Expressionist and Post-Impressionist artistic giants as his inspirations, no prior knowledge of the canon of art history or deep contemplation is necessary. The works are designed to offer a reprieve from a world fraught with conflict and tumult. The artist playfully reflects that the works are simply “pretty paintings by a pretty painter.” However you perceive these paintings, it is just right.

Himebauch’s first solo exhibition, ‘Retrospective’, opened in November 2022 at Trotter&Sholer. His work has been presented in several group shows, including those at Albertz Benda (2023), David Zwirner (2023), Trotter&Sholer (2019), GR Gallery (2019), Moberg Gallery (2019), and Agnes B. Galerie (2018), and his works are in numerous private collections worldwide. Himebauch has been profiled in the New York Times and Rolling Stone, among others, and is a founding partner of the restaurants Kiki’s and Forgtmenot on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. As a commercial artist, Himebauch collaborated with Comme des Garçons and Nike, among others. In 2019, Taschen named him one of the top illustrators in the world