In Crystallized Time is a group exhibition that will showcase works that are sensible to the speed accruing in societal structures as they develop technologically. Historically, artists have responded to and reflected upon the past, predicted the future, or tried to translate the fleetingness of the present; isolating and recreating experiences. The contemporary practice of painting and sculpture, parallel to the rise of digital processes and the internet, is adapting to consider our perception of time and reality within high-speed environments. The internet is an apparent informant for the selected works on view. Aesthetically, much of the work simulates spaces familiar behind screens. The pursuits of the works reach beyond a trivial goal like mimicking digital gestures, though that tactic is a common component in the works. Low and high fidelity graphics are meticulously painted and merge inside twisting landscapes and figures, gripping to a reality which exists in our memories or dreams; sometimes behind a screen. The subversion of material and warping of otherwise recognizable images are deceitful, questioning feelings of familiarity. The views are mechanical feeling and rely on images that are products of developments in surveillance, software, and other media. These references, ultimately accessible via Google Search, are frameworks for imagining the space that straddles physical and digital reality. The coldness of a machine still can elicit a visceral response. These devices are controlling, yet offer an idea of authentic decision making by the user (viewer). Our memories can be easily manipulated and fabricated. Our perception of time is affected by the digital and virtual. It can be a bit unsettling, how we have become reliant upon and responsive to data, a world of 1’s and 0’s, all funneled through a specific vantage point, and how it is able to construct a nostalgia for experiences we can relate to, but might have never had.
The painter Joan Mitchell has long been hailed as a formidable creative force. She first attained critical acclaim and success in the male-dominated art circles of 1950s New York, then spent nearly four decades in France creating distinctive, vibrant abstract paintings that draw on landscape, memory, poetry and music. With its world premiere at SFMOMA and co-organized with the Baltimore Museum of Art, Joan Mitchell will be a comprehensive retrospective featuring approximately 80 distinguished works. This exhibition will include rarely seen early paintings that established the artist’s career and colorful large-scale multi-panel masterpieces from her later years. With suites of major paintings, sketchbooks and drawings as well as an illuminating selection of the artist’s letters and photographs, the exhibition will open a new window into the richness and range of Mitchell’s practice.
Co-organized by SFMOMA and the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA), the exhibition is grounded in more than two years of archival research and extensive firsthand review of Mitchell’s works conducted by co-curators Sarah Roberts, Andrew W. Mellon Curator and Head of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA, and Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Programming & Research Curator and Thaw Chair of Modern Art at Stony Brook University. After its presentation in San Francisco, Joan Mitchell will be on view at the BMA from March 6 through August 14, 2022. A version of the exhibition will open at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris in fall 2022.
“Mitchell’s glorious paintings radiate with the vitality, feeling and sweeping color we usually experience only in the natural world. On a grand scale, she contended with and remade the possibilities of abstraction, personal expression and landscape,” said Roberts. “After so many months of restriction due to the pandemic and the limitations of art online, Mitchell’s subtle surfaces and moving color will offer visitors a transporting visual experience and remind us of the irreplaceable and overwhelming power of seeing art in person.”
Joan Mitchell explores the artist’s evolution as she sought to unify physical experience with the psychological and emotional. Her works are connected by their incredible evocations of feeling, and her canvases capture the athleticism of her physical process in addition to sensations sparked by music and poetry. A sense of place imbues Mitchell’s paintings, from remembered vistas of Chicago, New York, Paris and the Mediterranean coast, to the pastoral hills of Vétheuil, the village outside of Paris where the artist eventually made her home. The power of her approach can be seen in vibrant responses to the urban environment of New York City in paintings like The Bridge (1956) and Evenings on 73rd Street (1957), as well as rural French landscapes in paintings like South (1989), and also in works that engage with the legacy of Vincent van Gogh, such as No Rain (1976) and Sunflowers (1990–91). Co-curators Roberts and Siegel note in the exhibition catalogue, “For Mitchell, a painting with feeling embodied largeness of purpose: to encounter the world with honest emotion and sensation. Mitchell recognized this impulse as the driver of a grand tradition that included van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, Claude Monet, Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning; she both embraced that tradition and expanded its terms.”
“Across her life, Mitchell experimented with how painting could embody physical experience and also the complexity of the inner self. Ultimately, she sought to get beyond the boundaries of that self to connect with the world: a poem, passage of music, a dog — even a tree. Her fearlessness in making both grand and small gestures resulted in works that inspire us to connect to our feelings and bodies, to nature and to other beings,” continued Siegel. “She challenges our ideas about great art. Mitchell was not simply ‘making it’ in an environment created and occupied by men, she was actively remaking painting and its possibilities. The exhibition and the book reconsider the art of the postwar era and the extended impact of feminism’s burgeoning possibilities in the 1970s and ‘80s — thinking through what it means to live a life with art at its center.”
The exhibition highlights the way Mitchell experimented with color, light and gesture, resulting in a singular visual vocabulary that was decidedly personal and abstract, but also grounded in external reality. The scale of her works, the views they express and the materials she used were all impacted by places where she lived, worked, and visited and the people around her. Photographs of views that inspired Mitchell will be shown alongside her painterly responses, capturing the way she maintained a connection to the natural world and to everyday life, moving beyond the conventional definitions of both Abstract Expressionism and landscape painting. Sketchbooks, drawings, letters and other archival materials will shed further light on the artist’s process and perspective.
Music and poetry were ever-present in Mitchell’s life and impacted the development of her artistic practice. Early on she committed herself to the visual arts, yet her love of poetry and music found form in her paintings and her personal and collaborative relationships with writers and musicians in both the U.S. and France played essential roles in her career. As her artistic style developed, the open-ended, sometimes ambiguous, and often personal nature of lyrics, lines of poetry and musical compositions dovetailed with painting’s capacity to express what cannot be named or explained. Two multi-panel paintings, Ode to Joy (A Poem by Frank O’Hara) (1970–71) and La Vie en Rose (1979), demonstrate Mitchell’s passion for the arts across many disciplines and the way it propelled her practice.
Lastly, the exhibition contextualizes the ways in which social dynamics shaped perceptions of and possibilities for Mitchell and her work. Throughout her life, the artist grappled with the conflict between the social roles prescribed by her gender and social status and her desire for true creative freedom. Eventually, the artist came to see herself as a “mauvaise herbe,” or weed. To her, dandelions, daisies, even sunflowers were weeds — plants that might be overlooked, seen as unruly or out of place according to convention, but perhaps beautiful, strong and persistent when seen by the right eyes. The transnational nature of Mitchell’s existence is yet another way she defies easy categorization. Over the years, both New York and Paris claimed her, and vividly different perceptions of her work in the U.S. and France developed. Joan Mitchell examines these diverging views and reconciles them into a cohesive portrait of a complex individual and the outstanding art she produced.
Glass Rice is proud to present Nowhere Else To Go But Within, Oakland-based artist Jocelyn Tsaih’s debut solo exhibition with the gallery. Following an extended period of physical stillness and simultaneous emotional commotion during a global shut down, Tsaih confronts the discomfort of sitting within her vulnerabilities, sadness, and softness through this new body of reflective and poignant work.
Tsaih’s work in Nowhere Else To Go But Within can be divided into two series, the first being blue-hued figures set amongst deep black backdrops. Tsaih first began conceptualizing these paintings when she began to examine her identity and the deepest parts of her psyche during an emotionally tumultuous time. Feeling isolated and eons away from loved ones, she began having vivid dreams of those who had passed and of friends and family she would be separated from indefinitely. The blue paintings of figures suspended in endless space served as a form of catharsis – fumbling through the darkness and creating dream-like space to process and make sense of it all. The simplicity of her figures allow her audience to identify with those pure moments of complex emotion, while also accompanying her through her individual journey.
In the second half of the work, Tsaih transitions from melancholic to hopeful, mirroring the artist’s eventual shift to a more positive and hopeful outlook. In painting her figures in open and freeing gestures and complementing them with flowers and butterflies in glowing hues of orange, purple, and green, Tsaih uses color as a vehicle to uplift the tone of her work.
Despite these two series of paintings differing from the other visually, Nowhere Else To Go But Within is a gentle reminder that in order to arrive to a place of optimism, we must sift through the darker and more harrowing moments of life to obtain clarity and reach happiness.
The gallery will be open on opening day from 11 am – 4 pm for private appointments and 4 – 7 pm for walk-ins to the general public. Private appointments can be made on our website. Masks are not required, however, please wear them at your own discretion.
Elizabeth Leach Gallery is pleased to present Lonnie Holley’s atmospheric, dream-like painted works on paper that feature repeated, overlapping silhouettes and three-dimensional effects. Titled The Influence of Images, this new series of paintings were created during Holley’s artist-in-residency at the Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton, NY in 2020. During his time there he made artworks layered with spray paint and acrylic, adding an immediacy to the imagery. Nested shapes appear to radiate and float in the cosmos amid a softly diffused palette of grays, pinks, blues, and yellows that emphasize their transformative, mystical quality.
Ditch Projects is pleased to announce the opening of ‘Ghost Rider: Performing Fugitive Indigeneity’, work by Ka’ila Farrell-Smith.
Ka’ila Farrell-Smith is a contemporary Klamath Modoc visual artist, writer and activist based in Modoc Point, Oregon. The conceptual framework of her practice focuses on channeling research through a creative flow of experimentation and artistic playfulness rooted in Indigenous aesthetics and abstract formalism. Utilizing painting and traditional Indigenous art practices, her work explores space in-between the Indigenous and western paradigms. Ka’ila displays work in the form of paintings, objects, and self-curated installations.
‘Ghost Rider: Performing Fugitive Indigeneity’ consists of twenty-seven abstract paintings in the 2019-2021 Land Back series. The paintings created at my studio in Chiloquin consist of wild harvested pigments from Klamath lands and aerosol stencils of metal detritus found on the ranch land at Modoc Point Studio. Living and working on ranch and forest lands has become a ritual in reconnection. Walking the land, watching for snakes in summer, watching the prints of who walked before me in the snow in winter, selecting trees to trim for fire prevention. I collect detritus from the land: shot up cans, old ranch equipment, parts of machinery, barbed wire, grids, bullets. I take these objects and use them as stencils in my paintings. Combined, these marks with harvested wild pigments constitute layers that bridge contemplation of colonizers violence and trauma, offering a matrix for resiliency and transformation of perception and memory. Formally, the twenty seven works examine improvisational composition and abstract exploration, additional layers of thicker paint utilize text and imagery cited from my research.
My chapter for the book “Transnational Feminist Art Pedagogies at the intersections of [De]Coloniality” (edited by Injeong Yoon-Ramirez and Alejandra I. Ramirez) is titled GHOST RIDER and focuses on the lynching of the Modoc War leaders as legal precedent for the 2003 US Torture program, the history of the Ghost Dance and the Iron Horse, documentation and public spectacle of lynching and torture, stopping the Jordan Cove LNG (liquid natural gas) projects in Southern Oregon, and the fugitive Indigenous pose in relation to the Land Back painting series. The writing that inspired the title of this essay as well as my 2019-2021 work is “Fugitive Indigeneity: Reclaiming the terrain of decolonial struggle through Indigenous Art” by Jarrett Martineau and Eric Ritskes, 2014.
Indigenous art evokes a fugitive aesthetic that in its decolonial ruptural forms, refuses the struggle for better or more inclusion and recognition (Coulthard, 2007) and, instead, chooses refusal and flight as modes of freedom.
“Indigenous Art is inherently political.” (Wanda Nanibush, 2014)
The role of creative fugitivity in a corporate colonial Empire has become essential. As a content creator, writer, mark maker, and mentor, I’ve removed my labor from the urban center focusing my conceptual practice of performative painting with the land. This performance of refusal and flight is rooted in learning decolonial modes of resistance and freedom from my ancestors and contemporaries.
 Martineau , Jarrett and Ritskes, Eric. “Fugitive indigeneity: Reclaiming the terrain of decolonial struggle through Indigenous art” pp. 3-4. University of Victoria, University of Toronto, 2014. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society. Vol. 3, No. 1, 2014, pp. I-XII
Growing up, I gleaned most of my art knowledge from that old board game, Masterpiece, though I don’t think the game had any artists in it later than Picasso.
My lack of art knowledge has often left me feeling intimidated. I remember seeing a giant canvas at the Tate Modern in London called Study in Blue Number 2. It was painted in different shades of blue but nothing else. I didn’t get it. I felt like an outsider and imagined that ,if the artist saw me standing there in front of their painting, confused, they would judge me for not understanding it.
Patricia Hagen’s work never makes me feel stupid. Yet, even though it’s accessible, it isn’t simple or mundane. For the last couple years, Hagen has had an obsession with tree stumps. Many of her paintings and ceramics feature stumps in shades of grays and browns. To some, these colors might seem desolate; but I love the texture of her stumps. They are both alive and dead. I think of all the critters that make their homes in stumps—the fungi, the bugs, the way the decomposition leads to new life. The duality is so clever.
At her recent gallery opening, Hagen told me she focused on trees because, as an older woman, she thinks about the decay of her body. In her work, she also comments on human’s destruction of the environment. I love that something that is in some ways obvious can also have hidden meanings.
Hagen recently moved from Seattle to Port Townsend, Washington, an artsy town on the Puget Sound. Her new studio looks out onto Mt. Baker. Lately, she has been painting it. I don’t know what the mountain means to her. Maybe it’s about the majesty or timelessness of mountains. Regardless, I can’t wait to see the results.
Patricia Hagen’s work is currently showing at the Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle. Her work can be viewed at patriciahagen.com or LindaHodgesGallery.com
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Daniel Crews-Chubb makes compelling works that employ a traditional expressionistic, painterly language amid a conceptual framework investigating the potency of the iconic image and the dramatic dynamism of historic and contemporary visual repetition. Contending with his primary influences of ethnographic art, ancient rituals, social media and Modernism’s artistic legacies, he creates organically progressive quasi-figurative paintings in series which rely on a group of constructed historic or mythic characters for the work’s narrative, but are primarily conduits for abstract mark making, in what Matthew Collings has called “a musical abstraction of textures and contrasting positive and negative space.”
Municipal Bonds is pleased to present Austin Thomas’s second exhibition with the gallery, titled Metropolis. In this homage to her hometown, Thomas’s work embodies the dynamics of New York City, its architecture and energy. Featuring a selection of abstract monotypes on found paper, her solo show is both referential and reverential of quotidian moments from the city streets.
With syncopated rhythm, Thomas paints and prints geometric forms in unique color-blocks. Her process captures gesture, allows for experimentation and the emergence of imagery that at times suggests, even points to, her narrative. Distilled to impressions of light and shadow, mass and transparency—New York’s buildings and bridges, bustle and bravado meet between the printing press and Thomas’s paper.
Book covers and pages, ledger sheets and proofing papers are marked by craft foam and templates Thomas borrowed from a metalwork shop. These machine-age shapes are arranged with skyscraper-like verticality and the beat of her daily walks. The resulting work has an improvisational buoyancy, combining Thomas’s spontaneity and precision, and referring to a range of modernist styles, including Constructivism, Minimalism and Color Field painting.
Soft Ambition features new work by Renee Couture & Carolyn Hopkins. Both artists explore notions of resistance and acceptance as experienced through recent life changes.
Since moving to Klickitat County WA, Hopkins has become acutely aware of her concurrently vulnerable and dependent relationships to the landscape around her, as well as the community she now resides in. Hopkins’ new works operate as gestures of simultaneous surrender and defiance.
Couture’s work investigates her fragile relationship with motherhood. Using images and ephemera, she captures the dichotomies within parenthood, including taboo emotions tempered by hope.
As someone who has spent the last decade of my life in Arizona, I have always been fascinated by the way light and color can bring life to a place that is seemingly devoid of it. An otherwise bland array of rocks and dirt can take on new meaning when the sun hits just right changing the color from brown to an orange rust. Sunset is the most magical time of day in the desert when a light pink hue casts the land in a warm glow. The influx of color brings a whole new appreciation for the surrounding land.
Artist Anna Valdez does just that in her paintings and sculptures: brings life and meaning to the objects that encompass our lives. This idea is what initially drew me to her work. Her colorful canvases invite the viewer to ponder the keepsakes and artifacts that define who we are. By meshing household items such as plants, vases and knick knacks with preexisting natural spaces, she offers an ode to personal experience.
Valdez’s use of color is akin to the way light casts a new perspective on the desert. She uses bright pinks, oranges and deep greens to breathe life into a normal, everyday setting. She embellishes earth tones to create joyful works of art that feel rooted in nature and appreciation for the land. She is a master at zooming in on a specific scene, filling it with color and encouraging the viewer to live in the space.