Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Serra in the Afternoon at Dia



 Richard Serra sculptures at Dia Beacon, the Nabisco factory-turned-art-temple about 90 minutes north of Manhattan


Richard Serra's rolled steel sculptures are imposing, sometimes too imposing as they enclose and dwarf the viewer with their torqued angles and narrow passageways. But in the west-facing ground-floor space at Dia Beacon, where Serra's three enormous sculptures are housed, something magical happens in the afternoon. Gridded shadows from the window frames splash the massive forms this way and that, like a scene from Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. 


Makes you want to put charcoal to paper, no?


I love the window next to the entrance of the sculpture and that line of shadow frames along the floor . . .

. . .  and the way the torqued form skews the adjacent shadow



Next up: Louise Bourgeois and Michelle Stuart, also at Dia Beacon

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

An Aggregate of Forces: 60 Women Artists Over 60


Nancy Azara
Ghost Ship, 2017; vine with gesso, paint, and aluminum leaf on wood posts; 4 x 12 x 1.5 feet

"Ghost Ship represents a passage. It is about my aging. The last segment of my life as it passes on for me 
. . . its presence echoes much of my history."



This has been a good time for women artists d'un certain ├óge. Despite the mindless cruelties of ageism in the art world and elsewhere, the rush to woo newly minted MFA-holding artists has slowed as dealers, curators, critics--and, yes, collectors--have come to appreciate those of us in it for the long haul. You need only consider the recent and current spate of exhibitions in New York City galleries and museums to see the interest in women artists, particularly those whose careers have spanned decades. My ongoing Mothers of Invention series has reported on several of these exhibitions, many of which include artists who are still working in the studio every day and exhibiting regularly.


Prologue

Being an artist over 60 (there, I said it), I decided to create a feature that focuses on my contemporaries. We are also mothers of invention. The artists I selected for 60 Women Artists Over 60 come from throughout the United States and a few from Canada, ranging in age from just-turned-60 to just-about-to-turn 90. We have been serious artists our entire adult lives. We comprise, then, the history of contemporary art.  And since so many of us came of age during the Second Wave of the Women's Movement, feminism has informed our lives and work. The title, An Aggregate of Forces, comes from painter PE Sharpe, who acknowledges the strong women in her life. You'll see her work as you scroll. 








Barbara Lubliner, a member of the club, made her cast concrete sculpture, Muscle, right, when she was only 47, but it is placed in the Ms. Foundation collection next to the photograph of those two political powerhouses, Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes, taken when they were 79 and 82 respectively.








To be honest, I had an ulterior motive. I want 60 to be thought of as something to be aspired to, not dreaded. I want it to be considered the threshold of something more and better.  At 73, for instance, Brenda Goodman is flying high. She was recently was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City, and in the past decade has had 12 solo shows and participated in some 42 group exhibitions. 

Hidden Memories, 2017, oil on panel, 32 x 38

Below: Installation view of her solo booth at the NADA art fair in New York City in March 2017, presented by Jeff Bailey Gallery



One thing you'll notice is that many of the works shown here are ambitious in size or presentation, and that the included artists embrace a range of materials. Arlene Slavin, who will be 75 in October, is working with polyester window film, a new material for her. Bascha Mon, 84, has been working on an installation that now consists of 250+ works arranged in a grid that continues to grow. You'll see their work as you scroll. (I have included an artist's comments, and her age, when she has offered that information.) We proceed with the poignant thought expressed by the title of Stephanie Brody Lederman's painting, below.

We Are in the Same Boat, 2017, oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches

Stephanie turned 78 as this article was being prepared

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Youdelman standing with Self Portrait as Ophelia at the Fresno Art Museum, where her retrospective, Fashioning a Feminist Vision, 1972-2017, is taking place through August 27
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Detail 

"I have been working and exhibiting since 1971. I just turned 69 in June and right now, this period of my life as an artist is truly the best ever.  Because I work intuitively, the most valuable thing for me is having time to work, to allow ideas flow and develop naturally.  Since I retired from teaching I am able to focus all my energy on my art."
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Bascha Mon
New Land, ongoing from 2015, gouache on paper, each 8.5 x 12 inches
This narrative installation tells the story of the fear and anticipation experienced by immigrants and refugees

Detail

As a young painter, Mon found her way from family life in New Jersey to the Art Students League in New York City when League rules didn't provide scholarships to married women, she notes. "But with the support of fellow students and instructors, I did receive a scholarship and completed four years of instruction." She began to exhibit in 1971.



Abstraction

My personal preference is for abstraction, specifically geometric abstraction, so I started the flow of images with work in this genre, but keep scrolling, because you'll see much more. I've divided the flow of images into a few categories.

60th Birthday Cake, June 2017, chocolate sheet cake with buttercream and fondant icing, 11 x 16 inches

Now this is how to turn 60: "I hired my art photographer to take pictures as every slice was removed," says Williamson. The cake, which she decorated, is of a piece with her oeuvre (which does not normally involve baked goods)
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The Mighty Atom, 2014, acrylic on aluminum panel, 50 x 46 inches

"Somehow, everything I’ve been working on professionally for the past 43 years seems to all have joined together into one cohesive and continuing story. I don’t know what the next chapter of development will bring. I’m just happy that my creative impulse has never wavered, and I wake up each morning eager to get into the studio." 
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Quaglia 215, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 x 5 inches

"Gail Sheehy writes in her book, New Passages, "Imagine the day you turn 45 as the infancy of another life.” I picked up a paintbrush for the first time at the age of 48, after a successful career as a graphic designer. Now 61, I am a living example of that theory. My work and career have taken off in ways I never could have imagined. I truly believe that I could not have produced the work I do now, when I was in my 20’s. I am more creative and more disciplined than I ever was in my youth. Back then, I was too concerned with seeking validation. Age has brought with it a kind of fearlessness, mingled with a lifetime of experiences." 
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Twister, acrylic on shaped PVC panel, 27 x 12 x 11 inches
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Per Aspera Ad Astra (Through Hardship to the Stars), 2017, oil on shaped canvas, 9 feet high
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13 55 31b, 2017, acrylic on Komatex [PVC paper], 24 x 50 inches
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Shadow Zone, 2017, encaustic on panel, 24 x 36
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As Sweet As honey, 2012, mixed media on panel, 36 x 36 inches
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Untitled, 2017; found wood, balsa, paint; app, 6 x 6 x 11 inches
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#5, 2016, 2016-17, acrylic on panel, 26 x 26 inches
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The Future, 2016; acrylic on canvas, antique chair; 84 x 57 x 20 inches

"Being a female, a lesbian artist over 60, has made me feel both invisible and yet more free than in the past; a longer view provides perspective and proportion.The ego demands of fame and fortune don’t feel quite as compelling. I feel grateful to have been able to work steadily and persistently in the studio for over 40 years. And the friendship and support of a longstanding community is also partly responsible for my sanguine attitude. Of course, the art world is as youth-oriented as ever, and it’s not been easy to watch the next “hot new thing” take center stage. I still have hope that my day will come!  But I don’t sweat it as muchwe’re all part of this cultural history and contribute our best to it."
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Outside In, 2016, encaustic on panel, 18 x 12 inches
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V Sine Horizon 4, 2013, oil on linen, 64 x 32 inches
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Grey Lady, 2016, oil on linen, 30 x 24 inches
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Capriccio, 2013, oil on canvas, 48 x 40 inches
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"I'll keep it simple. I'm glad to be alive and still painting."
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Big Mouth, 2017, oil on panel, 48 x 36
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Fragments of Geometry and Change #239, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 36 x 36 inches
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Terra Ignota, 2015, encaustic and pigment on paper on panel, 31 x 21 inches

"This title, translated as Unknown Territory, is a response to my experience transitioning into a new phase of life--after 60."
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Sunwheels, 2017, oil on linen, 78 x 48
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Harmonizations VIII, 2017, mixed metalpoint on black gesso on museum board on panel, 24 x 24 x 2 inches
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"At 73 I am trying to look forward and not backward, but working on a retrospective of my work in metalpoint drawing scheduled for 2018 at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, I am forced to look over my life. Every art work from my past has a story of a different time and place."
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Cry, 2007, encaustic on panel, 60 x 60 inches
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"In my work, I have always tried to express human emotion in its most reductive form. Over the course of the 55 years I’ve been an artist, this has remained true. In the last decade I’ve experienced the death of my husband, the loss of many of my closest friends and artist colleagues, as well as my own personal struggles. These struggles and joys embed themselves in my psyche and find their way to my work. In Cry, each figure’s outstretched “arms” express the pain, longing, and grief I was experiencing . . . My mind is as adventurous now as it was when I was young, but my body is not. I’ve needed to adapt my work and processes to the realities of my physical limitations. But my need to express myself and the human condition continues."
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Night Lights, 2016, encaustic and oil stick on panel, 29 x 29 inches

"I was born in 1939, just before the War. I have painted for almost 40 years and hope to continue painting for at least another 20 years."
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All in All, 2017, oil on linen, 46 x 42 inches
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Surge #3, acrylic and thread on canvas, 54 x 62 inches
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Comes the Night, 2017; encaustic, textile collage, carbon on panel; 17 x 31.25 inches
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Cover Up, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 52 x 48 inches
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Tapestry Series, 2017, oil on canvas with steel rods and angle iron hooks, each app. 80 x 80 inches
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Ruminator, 2016. oil on panel, 36 x 36 inches
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Poprock 2260, 2017, oil on paper on panel, 23 x 24 inches
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Curls, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 36 inches
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Covers 24 Blue J Summer, 2016, gouache on handmade paper, 24 x 24 inches
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Unsayable Lights [foreground], 2017, acrylic and archival ink on canvas, 72 x 76 inches
Installation view from solo at Robichon Gallery, Denver
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Remember to Count . . .", 2017, flashe and charcoal on Yupo mounted on Dibond, 40 x 26 inches

"Being a women working as an artist for so many years has made me realize this is it...this is what I do...this is what I will keep doing until I can't, with ode to my now-passed artist mother, Margaret Manter, and my now-passed artist grandmother, Mary Manter."
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The Edge of Night, 2017, gouache on panel,. 20 x 16 inches
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What Lies Beneath, 2013, encaustic and ink on panel, 48 x 36 inches
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Bower, 2017, oil on canvas, 60 x 47 inches
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Margaret Suchland
Marking Time n. 10, 2010, mixed media, 18 x 18 inches
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Nature, Figuration, Photography, and a Little Art History


Golden Trumpets, 2017, pigment ink on Kozo with encaustic, 36 x 45.5

"I am more creative, brave, happy, and secure in who I am than I have ever been before. I even like my silver hair!"
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Moon Glow, 2014, acrylic on Mylar mounted on panel, 50 x 40 inches

In 2010 I had just turned 60 when I returned to my studio after a five-year hiatus writing my book, The Artist's Guide. After six frustrating months to awaken my visual art brain, these paintings on Mylar emerged. Whew. I felt I had arrived at last."
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Shift From Edge to Edge, 2017, oil and graphite on encaustic monotype,  36 x 24 inches
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Patti Russotti
Dancers Dance, mixed media, 24 x 24 inches
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Under, 2015-16, oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches
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Queen Bea, 2016, digital print, 30 x 40 inches
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Melancholic Museum, 2015, photomontage archival pigment print, 22 x 17 inches
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Dark Matter, 2017; oil, enamel, and sand on linen; 36 x 48 inches

"In 1992, I had my first solo painting show, when I was 40-years-old. Now, I’m almost 65 and nearing the traditional retirement age . . . I have been a member of the vibrant all-women artist’s collective, A.I.R. Gallery, for 20 years and had my eighth solo show of new paintings there in March. I have an 21 solo shows in various venues. . . Dark Matter, which is based on a painting by Edvard Munch, was painted in the wake of the election. Two people looking out into a difficult and unknown future, which reflects my feelings at this time as an older woman artist and as an American in this era of backward thinking."
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Mixed Metaphor, 2015, mixed media on canvas, 64 x 46 inches
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Vermeer-A.Gentileschi, 2017, oil, 10 x 10 inches

"When I'm painting I'm not 62."
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Dinner at Our House, 2015, fabric and mixed media, 34 x 27 inches
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Duality, 2012, oil on canvas, 38 x 48 inches

"Over 60. Finding community, finding my audience."


Black & White 


PE Sharpe
Paintings for Women, 2017, oil on canvas, 78 x 42 inches

"After three decades of pursuing photography and technology I made the decision to dedicate this final phase of a productive and fulfilling life as an artist to the unfolding of the pleasures of tactility in artmaking. I have spent these past several years discovering a vocabulary of line and formal expression of sense-desire particular to the properties of paint. This group of paintings is dedicated to the strong women who have been positive influences in my life, an aggregate of forces beyond naming."
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Currents, 2015, coated copper wire, 28 x 28 x 3 inches

"I’m turning 90 this year. As I move ahead with my work, I also reflect on my inspirations and beginnings. For the past 20 years my work has been concerned with interlocking lines and the spaces they form. I create a sense of weightlessness and luminescence by the manipulation of narrow-gauge industrial wire as I explore the contradiction between metal elements known for their strength and durability and the delicacy of the textiles that result."
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Transit series 5, 2017, ink and enamel on panel, 20 x 24 inches
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Blacks and Whites 47, 2016, oil on paper, 41 x 29 inches
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Leaving Before the Rain Comes, 2017, oil on paper, 30 x 22 inches
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The Gathering III,  2017; rubber, textiles, encaustic; 6 x 12 x 12 inches
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BKS-16-2, 2009, graphite on Diralar, 16 x 16 inches

"I was born in 1947 and have been converting wherever I lived into a studio. Over the years I've had many goals; some I reached, some I adjusted. Lately I've come to appreciate that I'm fully successful at arriving at exactly where I am!"
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We're Not Really Friends, 2013, charcoal on paper, 27 x 39 inches
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A Few Installations


Cells, 2016, acrylic on paper, 30 x 300 inches
Installation at Westbeth Gallery, New York City, 2017

Below: Cell 3, 30 x 38 inches



Black Tears, 2015, ink and beeswax on paper, 6.5 x 16 feet
Installation at Yellow Peril Gallery, Providence, Rhode Island, 2015

Detail: Single element, 7 x 5.5 inches


“Hallelujah for the freedom that aging brings. Longevity diminishes peer pressure and performance anxiety, while strengthening insight and wisdom.”  
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Gelah Penn
Situations [large detail], 2017, mixed media, dimensions variable
Recent installation in the Amelia A. Wallace Gallery, SUNY College at Old Westbury, New York

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Intersection, 2017, polyester window film
Installation view from recent exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the Arts
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Hue, Space, Place, A Year of Color, 2016, acrylic on polyester resin film, 14 x 23 x 5 feet
Recent installation at Odetta Gallery, Brooklyn
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Flow, 2017; tar paper, handmade paper, plexiglass rods; 22 x 55 x 4 feet
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"Being over 60 has become a battle with time. I want to not be forgotten. This has made me more fierce, in search of bigger challenges, taking more risks with stronger clarity in my work. Nothing is daunting despite aches, pains, and surgeries. I stir my pot because honestly, what have I got to lose? "
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Theresa Hackett
On Location in the Pines and Other Places, 2017, mixed media
Installation at the Delaware Arts Alliance
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Paintings from Silk Road series, each encaustic on panel, 12 x 12 inches; installation 52 x 112 inches 
Shown in Formal Aspects, curated by Sarah Hinckley, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, 2015
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How I selected these artists
In mid-July I posted on my Facebook page a Call for Women Artists over 60, explaining my project and asking them to send me an image of their work. I limited the call to my "friends," some of whom I knew only through cyber space. Over the course of two weeks I received 148 submissions, enough to make at least two such features. Selection, then, was subjective. I chose works that resonated for me and which I felt advanced the curatorial flow. If you're counting, I went a little over my stated limit of 60. There's a lot of good work here. 



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