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Schnabel's work is marked by a broad diversity of materials, subjects and styles. This early painting is made on velvet, a material which has many different connotations ranging from the kitsch to the religious to the theatrical. Although aware of these associations, Schnabel used the material because of its rich saturated colour and the way the nap of the cloth made possible a variety of brushstrokes. The paint sits on the surface of the painting, resisting integration into its support. The multi-layered composition depicts two contemporary American artists, Ross Bleckner and Itzhar Patkin, standing on the right; the grey head in the upper left is a self portrait.

September 2004