Di Donna Galleries presents The Life of Forms, an exhibition that explores the vitality and diversity of biomorphic sculpture among modern artists who translated forms found in nature into poetic shapes and rhythms. The exhibition will bring together important sculptures by Jean Arp, Ruth Asawa, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Agustín Cárdenas, Barbara Hepworth, Henri Matisse, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Isamu Noguchi, Wolfgang Paalen, and William Turnbull, installed in Di Donna’s Madison Avenue gallery in a setting that evokes a mysterious garden. The Life of Forms features works loaned by major private collections and institutions, including The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation and The Noguchi Museum.
The title of the exhibition is borrowed from French art historian Henri Focillon’s text The Life of Forms in Art (1934). Starting with Focillon’s idea that all art belongs to a family of forms that also allows for infinite variation, this exhibition will investigate the historical and cultural factors behind some of modern sculpture’s most radical innovations. Some artists received inspiration from forms found in the natural world, as in the patterns seen in plants or insect wings, which inspired Asawa’s nesting wire mesh pods. Others turned to human anatomy in both its most primal and most idealized states, as is visible in Arp’s sculptures, or two works by Bourgeois that represent the artist’s depiction of bodily fragments as a metaphorical device to signify intimacy or primordial genesis. Artists also turned to handcrafted precedents. For instance, Moore attributed the strength of modern sculpture to artists’ interests in “the whole history of mankind,” a sensibility that is evident in the relationships between Moore’s figural sculptures and Pre-Columbian art. Likewise, Cárdenas interpreted, in wood and in stone, totemic and Surrealist traditions that ascribe symbolic meaning to worldly objects.
The impact of Surrealist automatism and the emerging popularity of direct carving permitted an unprecedented degree of spontaneity in early twentieth-century sculpture. “I work upward, linking the parts together,” Calder once explained—a method that suggests organic growth, as encapsulated in his sculpture, Yucca, in which a combination of elegant fixed and mobile elements rise into the air and conjure the physics of nature. Hepworth similarly honored a kind of organic verticality in her sculptures, especially as it relates to the nature of wood, her preferred material. She cultivated a dialogue with the intrinsic properties of wood as a natural element, and envisioned her sculptures as living organisms: “I like to dream of things rising from the ground,” she once said. “It would be marvelous to walk in the woods and suddenly come across such things.”
Directors of Marlborough Gallery are pleased to announce an exhibition of recent paintings by the world-renowned artist Fernando Botero. These new works revisit the major subjects he has depicted over the course of his career. The exhibition will begin on October 11th and remain on view until November 24th, 2018. The familiar figures in paintings by Botero are as voluptuous as they are charismatic. Whether he is depicting female nudes, bullfighters, dance hall denizens, clowns, revelers, lovers, Grandes Dames, musicians, families or a bowl of fruit, Botero’s skill and style make the work unmistakably his own. As writer David Ebony puts it, “Art audiences, critics, and collectors see the famou
sly rotund figures that populate his compositions as emblematic archetypes: sensuous icons of plenty, of good health and good fortune.” For the artist, form and color work together to illuminate the heightened reality of each painted figure or scene. In Botero’s paintings no element is gratuitous – “everything is necessary” as he explains. Although a figurative painter, he achieves a balance in composition and color that shows his understanding and assimilation of the essential tenets of abstraction. Light, created by his synthesis of colors, is especially important. Botero never paints heavy shadows as he considers them the enemy of color. He has stated, “I would say that in my painting there is an interior light that is like morning light. What most resembles this internal, color-like “light” is the light of the morning hours…everything is clearer and more uniform.” Fernando Botero was born in Medellín, Colombia in 1932. Since his first solo gallery show in 1951, the artist has been exhibited in museums all over the world. He began showing with Marlborough Gallery in 1972. Over the past forty years he has held numerous museum exhibitions in the following countries: Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, Colombia, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Venezuela, and the United States. Botero’s work can be found in over fifty museums worldwide. They include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Caracas, Venezuela; Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogota, Colombia; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Neue Pinakothek, Munich, Germany; Pushkin Museum, Moscow, Russia; The Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne, Germany; and The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Franklin Parrasch Gallery is pleased to present Wanda Koop: Reflect, its first exhibition of paintings by the Winnipeg-based artist.
From spectral, eerily wrought landscapes to abstracted planes of lurid, layered pigment, the paintings in this show function together as a suite of color poems. Evoking the visual effects of shimmering reflections on bodies of water, Koop’s flattened washes appear as if the paint and its accompanying energy might be emerging from behind the canvas, pushing up against an unstable, dynamic surface. Connecting with the experience of one’s peaceful contemplation of a lake or a stream, these works invite a multileveled dialogue with beauty.
Although Koop has, for decades, led and been actively involved in successful community arts initiatives for at-risk children and youth in her neighborhood, during the summer of 2018 she felt the need to seek solace within her own practice and in the natural world. The Reflect series embodies the artist’s refusal of her feelings of horror and hopelessness related to recent acts of violence towards women and girls in her city.
Addressing the nebulous interface between nature and culture, Koop’s work often employs the familiar themes, tropes, and framing devices that landscape artists have developed over centuries, prompting the viewer to consider the ways in which contemporary technologies alter our perceptions of the visual realm. Koop positions her art between greater and lesser degrees of representation and abstraction, always with the frank acknowledgement that neither can be separated from the other. Still, her works’ relationship to color field abstraction is evident not just in their titling — Blue Lavender, Mustard Yellow or Burnt Sienna, Deep Green, for example — but in that their rich colors and quivering vertical and horizontal marks similarly grant the viewer a moment to be immersed in the visual and psychological experience of reflection.
Wanda Koop (b. 1951, Vancouver) lives and works Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she has been based since early childhood. Her painting career spans four decades and includes a major survey mounted by the National Gallery of Canada in 2011. Koop has exhibited across Canada and the US, as well as in Europe, Asia, and South America. Recent solo shows include Night Gallery (Los Angeles), Division Gallery (Montreal), and Arsenal Contemporary (New York). Her work is held in such institutional collections as the National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa, ON), Musée d’Art Contemporain (Montreal, QC), Reykjavik Museum (Iceland), and Shanghai Museum of Modern Art (China), as well as the Bank of Montreal and the Royal Bank of Canada. Koop has been the recipient of numerous awards, honorary doctorates, and Canadian medals of honor, including the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Order of Canada (awarded in 2006). Her life and work was the subject of Katherine Knight’s 2011 documentary film KOOP. In 1998, Koop founded Art City, a storefront art center that brings together world-class contemporary visual artists and Winnipeg’s inner-city youth to explore the creative process.