In Gallery One: Paul Nudd’s Black Mayonnaisery
In Gallery Two: Paul Nudd: Collected Prints & Multiples
In art ltd in 2011, James Yood wrote of Paul Nudd, “If the body is a temple, Nudd offers it as crumbling and collapsing, as an amazing remnant soon to be food for very busy worms.” Nudd is committed to central themes of primal sludge, growth and disease, systems of classification, mutation and life, patterning and mark making.
Paul Nudd’s large vertical figure drawings depict cartoonishly terrifying mutants, alien/human mash-ups besotted with tumors, warts, lesions, growths, male and female genitalia and mis-placed pubic hair. The slightly-larger than human full-body portraits feel like amalgamated bastard spawn of Nudd’s gross-out heroes and influences: Paul McCarthy, Öyvind Fahlström, Peter Saul, Ivan Albright and of course, Jim Nutt, along with popular sources, movies like “The Fly”, “Dead Alive”, “The Toxic Avenger” and The Thing from the Fantastic Four. Nudd’s hermaphroditic figures (“Most of the action goes on between the legs”, per the artist) map bizarre physical characteristics with green being a prevalent color, representing life, growth, bacteria, mold, fungus and monsters, Frankenstein’s monster and the Hulk. These radioactive icons find redemption in disease, being self-aware bodies in a paranoid age, reveling in genetic mutations, bad pharmaceuticals and environmental degradation.
A sub-series of mutant drawings are smaller; adolescent sized, or juveniles, less developed, but in the process of mutating with exaggerated physical characteristics of puberty: armpit hair, rampant acne, overall asymmetry, misshapen breasts, pubic hair, enlarged genitalia, gender confusion, hormonal shifts, mood swings and erections. In these works, the repetition of pea-green and small internal lumps reference the pituitary gland, an adolescent’s albatross, here forming into something unhealthy, or dirty, such as a tumor.
Nudd’s mixed-media paintings on canvas offer up images of head-like entities emerging from colorful thick swaths of paint and his videos are endless cycles of spastic rupturing of gunk and goo, reflecting Nudd’s artistic practice as a whole.
Paul Nudd’s solo and two-person shows include Bourouina Gallery in Berlin, Hap Gallery in Portland, OR, Jack the Pelican Presents in Brooklyn, telephonebooth in Kansas City and the Hyde Park Art Center, Bodybuilder & Sportsmen, and Dogmatic, all in Chicago. His work has been included in group shows in Dusseldorf, San Francisco, Minneapolis, Houston, Denver and was included in Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. His prodigious zine work can be found in several national artist book collections including the Museum of Modern Art; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; New Jersey Public Library; National Academy of Design, New York; Indiana University and School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Paul Nudd received his MFA from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 2001. He is represented by Western Exhibitions in Chicago and he lives and works in Berwyn, Illinois.