(East Hampton NY August 22th, 2014) Vered Gallery opens Modernist Color: The First 90 Years, Friday evening August 29thfrom xxx-xxx. Highlights include paintings by John Singer Sargent, Arthur B. Carles, Russell Morgan, John Sloan, Arthur Dove, Milton Avery, Arshile Gorky, Larry Rivers and Helen Frankenthaler, as well as photographs by Alvin Langdon Coburn, F. Holland Day and Robert Mapplethorpe.
A gallery talk accompanying the exhibition will take place on the Sunday of the Labor Day weekend, August 31st from 4-6pm.
In a conversation with Robert Rauschenberg, Willem De Kooning once described art history as being like a bowl of alphabet soup.
You stick your hand in it and find something for yourself.
Modernism succeeded Classical painting. The classic 'Old Masters' regarded the physical limitations of painting, as wholly negative. They invented perspective space to conceal the flat surface of the canvas and used layers of underpaint to subtly helping to create form. With the advent of photography in 1839, painters felt the need to recalibrate; to seek a means of expression beyond the concept underlying classical painting and, beyond the limitations of the camera which had begun to erode their 'business'. The painter Paul de la Roche in 1839, perfectly expressed his shock in the 'new' upon seeing the first photograph, a daguerreotype, saying, From Today, Painting is DEAD. Modernism left the past behind. The 'limitations,' once regarded as detrimental, came to express themselves under modernist practice as openly positive identifiers of modernism. As such, flatness, literal shape and color became primary, representative, and 'pure' qualities of the emerging modernist aesthetic.
The modernist's aesthetic inclination was to withdraw from representing reality in favor of an increasing preoccupation with the problems intrinsic to painting itself. Issues of color and form became a main focus of the modernist. Opening the exhibition is the1913 painting by John Singer Sargent. It comes as an exquisite surprise. It is similar in its translucent sense of expression to the watercolors from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and Brooklyn Museum collections shown this past spring at the Brooklyn Museum, John Singer Sargent Watercolors. Exhibited are pivotal photographs by modernist progeniteur photographers Alvin Langdon Coburn and F Holland Day, the iconclastic modernist photographer Man Ray and the brilliant colorist, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Early Modernist works include, Morgan Russell's Portrait of Paul Cezanne 1913, Arthur B Carles' full blown modernist work, Nude Torso 1913, Arthur Dove and Joseph Stella's precisionistic abstractions both of 1920, and Oscar Bluemner's quintessential
'Day Scape' watercolor 1925, of Elizabeth NJ, open the exhibition. Middle period modernism continues with Milton Avery's Coney Island 1931, a prescient work which establishes Avery's particular use of color and form, characteristics which mark his long career, a career finally reaching the abstraction of subject almost entirely. Milton Avery like Helen Frankenthaler in Quattrocento 1984, never chose to abandon subject matter. Arshile Gorky's Mother and Child, 1937, is an amazing synthesis of cubism and one of his bestexamples of his technique of sanding the painting's surface to increase the sense of depth. Gorky pioneered this technique, which was adopted, amongst others, by Willem de Kooning. A second most significant work of this middle period is Larry Rivers', Portrait of Berdie 1952. Rivers paintings of 'Berdie' are largely in Museum collections-including the Whitney Museum of American Art, RISD and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Frankenthaler's large canvas is one of the second major late painting in the exhibition. The final work in the exhibition - a heroic, large scale, 3-dimentional canvas, Ochre Dance 1993 by Larry Rivers who was called the"Godfather" and "Grandfather" because he was one of the first artists to really merge non-objective, non-narrative art with narrative and objective abstraction.
The show is curated by gallery owner Janet Lehr, who has worked extensively with the Library of Congress, The Cleveland Museum, Detroit Art Institute, National Gallery Australia, The Getty Museum, The Amon Carter Museum, The Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, in building their permanent photography collections.
Vered Gallery, 68 Park Place, East Hampton, NY 11937 (Starbucks passage)