Friday 15 July 2011

Antoni Tàpies - part 2

This is part two of a two-part post on the works of Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies. For part one and biographical information on Tàpies see below. Part one shows works dating from 1957 to 1976.

1977 Signs on felt and wood 
mixed media

1978 Petrificada petricante (series) 

1981 Empreinte 
etching, collage

1979 Sous Zero 

1981 Repliquer II 

1981 Vellut rosa dins cercle negre 
mixed media on board

1982 Fusta gratada 
mixed media on panel

1983 Divisé 

1985 A.T. 

1988 Pissarra 

1988 Llibertat 

1988 Sud 

1989 Ambroisia 
mixed media on canvas

1989 Reclinatori 

1990 Oval Blanc 
mixed media on panel

1990 Signes negres sobre marró 

1998 Forma blanca 

2005 Parpelles sobre marro 
mixed media on wood

2005 Plat i tassa 
mixed media on wood

2007 Quadrat ocre 
mixed media on wood

2007 T negra 
mixed media on canvas

2010 Signes encolats 
mixed media on wood

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Antoni Tàpies - part 1

This is the first part of a two-part post on the works of Spanish artist Antoni Tàpies. Tàpies was born in 1923 in Barcelona. His adolescence was disrupted by the Spanish Civil War and a serious illness that lasted two years. Tàpies began to study law in Barcelona in 1944 but two years later decided instead to devote himself exclusively to art. He was essentially self-taught as a painter; the few art classes he attended left little impression on him. Shortly after deciding to become an artist, he began attending clandestine meetings of the Blaus, an iconoclastic group of Catalan artists and writers who produced the review Dau al Set.

Tàpies’s early work was influenced by the art of Max Ernst, Paul Klee, and Joan Miró, and by Eastern philosophy. His art was exhibited for the first time in the controversial Salo d’Octubre in Barcelona in 1948. He soon began to develop a recognisable personal style related to matière painting, or Art Informel, a movement that focused on the materials of art-making. The approach resulted in textural richness, but its more important aim was the exploration of the transformative qualities of matter. Tàpies freely adopted bits of detritus, earth, and stone – mediums that evoke solidity and mass – in his large-scale works.

In 1950, his first solo show was held at the Galeries Laietanes, Barcelona, and he was included in the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh. That same year, the French government awarded Tàpies a scholarship that enabled him to spend a year in Paris. His first solo show in New York was presented in 1953 at the gallery of Martha Jackson, who arranged for his work to be shown the following year in various galleries around the United States. During the 1950s and 1960s, Tàpies exhibited in major museums and galleries throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and South America. In 1966, he began his collection of writings, La practica de l’art. In 1969, he and the poet Joan Brossa published their book, Frègoli; a second collaborative effort, Nocturn Matinal, appeared the following year. Tàpies received the Rubens Prize of Siegen, Germany, in 1972.

Retrospective exhibitions were presented at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in 1973 and at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, in 1977. The following year, he published his prize-winning autobiography, Memòria personal. In the early 1980s, he continued diversifying his mediums, producing his first ceramic sculptures and designing sets for Jacques Dupin’s play L’Eboulement. By 1992, three volumes of the catalogue raisonné of Tàpies’s work had been published. The following year, he and Cristina Iglesias represented Spain at the Venice Biennale, where his installation was awarded the Leone d’Oro. A retrospective exhibition was presented at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, and the Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York, in 1994-5. In 2000 the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid also organised a major retrospective of the artist’s work. Tàpies lives in Barcelona.

1957 Grey and Green Painting 
oil, epoxy resin, marble dust on canvas

1958 Gran Pintura 
oil and sand on canvas

1958 Grey Ochre 
oil, epoxy resin, marble dust on canvas

1959 Croix sur gris XCVIII 
mixed media on canvas laid on board

1959 Grey Relief on Black 
latex paint and marble dust on canvas

1960 Grey between Brackets 
oil and mixed media on board

1961 Gris Violacé aux Rides 
mixed media on canvas

1961 Relieve negro perorado 
mixed media on canvas

1962 Ocre côn trazos negros superores 
mixed media on canvas

1963 Large Matter with Lateral Papers 
mixed media

1964 Pintura 
mixed media on canvas

1968 Journal 

1968 L'Enveloppe 

1973 Foll 

1974 Cartes per la Teresa (472) 
lithograph and collage

1975 L'arc 
etching and opaque white

1975 Llambrec Material 

1976 Negre i roig III, Fora 

Monday 11 July 2011

Rosalie Gascoigne

After my recent post on Helen Frankenthaler, I thought I’d take a look at the work of another female artist – quite different, but one whose work follows on neatly from that of Christopher Wool, featured in my last posting.

Rosalie Gascoigne (1917 – 1999) was a New Zealander – Australian sculptor. She showed at the Venice Biennale in 1982, becoming the first female artist to represent Australia there. In 1994 she was awarded the Order of Australia for her services to the arts.

Gascoigne was born Rosalie Norah King Walker in Auckland, New Zealand. She emigrated to Canberra, Australia in 1943 at the age of 26 to marry astronomer S. C. B (Ben) Gascoigne, later to become an eminent professor, and set up home in the isolated scientific community of Mount Stromlo.

In the late 1960s she started experimenting with small scrap iron sculptures and later wooden boxed assemblages, all composed of materials she found while on scavenging expeditions in the Canberra hinterland. She learnt to love the "boundless space and solitude" of her new home. Much of her art reflects this, though some also harks back to her roots in New Zealand.

1977 Sir Bagby 
 Gascoigne was strongly encouraged by artist Michael Taylor and by James Mollison, then director of the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, who spotted her distinctive artistic talents early. Her first serious exhibition was at Ann Lewis's Gallery A in Paddington, Sydney, in 1974, when Gascoigne was 57; it was an instant success, and a mere four years later she had become a major figure in the Australian art world, with a survey at the National Gallery of Victoria. Her assemblages moved through many stages, to a certain extent dictated by the colours and types of materials she was currently interested in.

She said that her art-making materials "need to have been open to the weather." She thus used mostly found materials: wood, iron, wire, feathers, and most famously yellow and orange retro-reflective road signs, which flash and glow in the light. Some of her other best-known works use faded, once-bright drinks crates; thinly-sliced yellow Schweppes boxes; ragged domestic items such as torn floral lino and patchy enamelware; vernacular building materials such as galvanised tin, corrugated iron and masonite; and fibrous, rosy cable reel ends. These objects represent, rather than accurately depict, elements of her world. "The countryside's discards ... no longer suggest themselves but evoke experiences, particularly of landscape.”

Text is another important element of her work; she would cut up and rearrange the faded, naive lettering found on these items to create abstract yet evocative grids of letters and word fragments, sometimes alluding to the crosswords and poetry of which she was so fond. Knowledgeable and widely read, she was inspired amongst others by the artists Colin McCahon, Ken Whisson, Dick Watkins and Robert Rauschenberg. However gradually both colour and text seemed to fade from her work, and in her final years she created meditative, elegiac compositions of white or earth-brown panels.

1999 Earth 4 
sawn builders form wood

Although working vigorously into her 80s, with occasional help from an assistant, her age at the height of her success precluded the travelling that would have been necessary to build the international audience her work deserved.

Although she exhibited occasionally overseas - including the 1982 Venice Biennale (the first Australian woman to do so), Switzerland and Sweden as well as throughout Asia - the major holdings of her work remain in Australia and New Zealand, both of which claim her as their own. 

Fine examples of Gascoigne's oeuvre can be found in most Antipodean galleries; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, owns one of her smaller pieces.
Rosalie Gascoigne died in Canberra in 1999.

1976 The Colonel's Lady 
mixed media

1976 Triptych 
mixed media

1980-1 Untitled (12 squares of 6) 
sawn weathered wood

1984 Untitled (25 scallop shells)

1985 Pineapple Pieces No. 4

1988 Painted Words 
spray painted masonite on plywood

1989 Tesserae 1 
sawn / split soft drink crates on plywood

1990-2 Regimental Colours (B) 
sawn / split soft drink crates on plywood

1992 Port of Call 
cut tea crates and weathered formwork on plywood

1992 Text 
sawn / split soft drink crates on plywood

1992-3 Rose Red City #6 
corrugated iron on wood

1993 Lily Pond 
linoleum and plywood

1993-4 White City 
wood on craft-board

1994 Bread and Butter 
sawn wood on craft-board

1994 Compound 
timber and masonite

1994-5 The Apple Isle 
sawn wood on craft-board

1995 Gentlemen of Japan 
retro reflective road sign on craft-board

1995 White Garden 
corrugated iron on wood

1998 Full Fathom Five 
sawn wood on wood

1998 Magpie 
sawn wood on wood

1998 Tartan 
sawn wood on wood

1999 Metropolis 
retro reflective road-sign on wood

1999 Parasol 
retro reflective road-sign on wood

1999 Valentine 
retro reflective road-sign on wood