Artist, club owner, musician, curator and DJ, Spencer Sweeney moves across genres and styles within visual art, music and performance. This multifaceted approach has made Sweeney’s versatile body of work prominent in the New York art and music scene, since his emergence in the late 1990s.
As portraits and reflections of downtown bohemia, Sweeney’s paintings and drawings depict faces and figures that evoke a wide range of visceral emotion, from bliss to melancholy, cynicism to hope. In explosive distortions of painted marks and vibrating palettes of color, these works shift rapidly between artistic methods and mediums. Pushing formalities aside to channel a natural flow of creativity, Sweeney’s painted subjects vibrate with a psychedelic spirit that draws attention to the parallels between internal energy and public persona.
For his exhibition at Cahiers d’Art Paris, Sweeney will present an expansive selection of pastels on paper as well as two paintings on un-stretched canvas. Together these works will generate an immersive space of raw figuration pushed to its abstract limits. This continuous progression reconstructs our reality into an intimate and unmediated space of expression that is also available to the viewer will be Spencer Sweeney’s monograph, published this year by KittoSan, which beautifully reconfirms the artist as an indelible, irreplaceable, and essential part of New York City's cultural landscape for the past two decades. This comprehensive volume is filled with fascinating interviews by fellow faithfuls such as Alex Bag, Larry Clark, Abel Ferrara, John Giorno, Mary Heilmann, Harmony Korine, Johan Kugelberg, Jim Lambie, Glenn O’Brien, Will Oldham, Elizabeth Peyton, Rob Pruitt and Tony Shafrazi; archival photos documenting the countless moments, both legendary and obscure; and of course, hundreds of Sweeney’s colorful paintings that synthesize life in New York in the second decade of the new century.
Following in a series of collaborations with the world’s leading galleries, Cahiers d’Art has invited Gavin Brown’s Enterprise to present, for the first time in Paris, a solo exhibition of work by Spencer Sweeney. Other recent solo exhibitions by Spencer Sweeney include those at Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York; Karma, New York; Clearing, Brussels; The Modern Institute, Glasgow; Veneklasen Werner, Berlin and The Green Gallery, Milwaukee.
Sweeney was born in Philadelphia in 1973. He currently lives and works in New York, NY.