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Damien Hirst’s latest show, “Colour Space Paintings,” at Gagosian (555 West 24th Street in New York) re-explores the artist’s ongoing relationship with dots. The works consist of an overwhelming number of brightly colored circles placed closely together over large canvases.
The canvases vary in size, background color, and, as Hirst explains, “there are still no two exact colors that repeat in each painting.” Each of the paintings feel human and authentic. The dots are not pristine, perfectly painted circles. Instead, they are active, spontaneous, and painterly. The dots accidently overlap and the paint happens to splatter, as if indicating the impulsivity that went into this body of work. There is something almost Pollock-esque about it. As a result, there is uniqueness in each and every one of the paintings.
These paintings are both a continuation and a revolution from his earlier “Spot Paintings.” Hirst’s earlier work is much more rigid, subject to the formality of the grid. In comparison, this new body of work is much freer. While “Colour Space Paintings” still adheres to most of the original rules established by Spot Paintings—like, no single color repeats in a painting, or that the dot size remains constant in the work—this time around there’s a different message. One that is much more emotionally liberated.