The first solo exhibit at the space by the American artist Alex Katz (New York, 1927) presented ten portraits, each with a different format, produced during the last two decades of the 20th Century.
Despite notable influences from different art tendencies, Katz's work is difficult to place. His contemporaneous art established him as a pioneer among second-generation abstract painters. This brought his innovative work to marry two styles, Action Painting and Pop Art. With the Action painters he shared an interest in large-scale formats. In common with Pop Art, he relished a preference for scenes of daily life in New York.
Despite his clear abiding interests with other artistic groups, Katz's work does not easily fit into any of the artistic movements that have been defined in the second half of this Century. His paintings seem at first glance to convey an apparent innocence and simple. But, these characteristics only shadow off momentarily the great complexity embedded in his work.
Thus his work, is: “figurative and yet assimilating a good many lessons from abstraction, normal and yet sophisticated, sincere and yet often ironical and humorous, seemingly cold and neat and yet containing unusual poetic intensity, presenting bright surfaces and yet dense and full of enigmas, sometimes cheerful and full of energy but melancholy when occasion arises, local and yet universal, always divided, like their author’s life, between the urban world of Manhattan and the rural world of Maine […] these are the contradictions on which [Alex Katz painting is] based.” *
* Introduction for the exhibition Alex Katz at IVAM on 1996 by Juan Manuel Bonet.