DECLARATION: Louise Bourgeois, Ruth Bernhard, Linda Fleming, Helen Frankenthaler, Ann Hamilton, Jae Ko, Yayoi Kusama, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Shirin Neshat, Judy Pfaff, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas and Kara Walker
Apr 21 – Jun 11, 2016
Robischon Gallery is proud to present “DECLARATION,” an exhibition of historically-important and esteemed artists who, through their diverse and distinctive expressions, affirm their position as exceptional artists of influence. The fourteen distinguished artists Louise Bourgeois, Ruth Bernhard, Linda Fleming, Helen Frankenthaler, Ann Hamilton, Jae Ko, Yayoi Kusama, Joan Mitchell, Alice Neel, Shirin Neshat, Judy Pfaff, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas and Kara Walker are shown in three adjacent galleries emphasizing the connections between the artists’ respective idioms and overall thematic concerns.
To begin “DECLARATION,” three Robischon Gallery artists exuberantly fill the first exhibition space with sculpture; the honored installation artist Judy Pfaff and the highly innovative sculptors Linda Fleming and Jae Ko. Noted for their large-scale, visually immersive works, the artists are masters of material abstraction as each employs a range of industrial or uncommon materials. In the second large gallery, several signature works anchor the space by artists who have come to be known as modern or contemporary giants. Acclaimed for their unique individual contributions to the dialogue and the development of their respective abstract vocabularies, ten works by four revered artists hold court: Yayoi Kusama’s early obsessive “Net” paintings; Louise Bourgeois’ abstract drawings and a sculpture stemming from her “Personages” series; large saturated Color Field work by artist Helen Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell’s intensely animated Abstract Expressionist paintings. The culminating gallery of the exhibition shifts into an overtly different tone. Moving from the vibrant and deeply-felt abstractions and sculptural works in the previous spaces, the third gallery’s eight critically-acclaimed artists speak to the pursuit and truth of identity through the body via psychological explorations of subjects both familial and societal. As a bridge from the previous space, the work of Louise Bourgeois carries into the third gallery as well further punctuating the dialogue with her emotionally-charged figural vocabulary. Standing nearby are specific pieces by the influential photographer Ruth Bernhard and the great, candid and provocative figural painter, Alice Neel. Additionally on exhibition, are early photographic works by prominent Robischon Gallery installation and performance artist Ann Hamilton and a trio of contemporary sculptures by celebrated artist Mickalene Thomas as both artists reference an object-oriented view of the body. In full circle mode, the cutting and compelling artworks by internationally-honored artists Kara Walker, Shirin Neshat and Lorna Simpson pivot from one to the next as they distinctively express and uniquely share the critical role of truth-sayer when addressing issues of cultural and societal prejudice. Together and tangentially throughout the gallery, the artists powerfully call for an evolved and universal acceptance toward both race and gender.
The artists in “DECLARATION” stand alone in their unique expressions and perspectives. They are connected through lineage, adjacent practice, bold ingenuity and vision while also being united in their considerable influence. Whether their work is firmly established as historically ground-breaking or expressive of their unquestionably unique and relevant contemporary voice, all of the artists on view speak clearly and in bold terms. As an additional declaration of their respective legacies, the select artworks, ranging from sculpture, painting, photography, drawing and prints span from 1947 to 2016. The voices of the exceptional artists represented and invited by Robischon Gallery, are further amplified by the significant artworks on generous loan from the Ginny Williams Collection.