January 2009, Philadelphia, PA--Locks Gallery is pleased to present a survey of painting, sculpture and video by Nancy Graves, on view February 27–March 31, 2009. There will be a reception Friday, February 27, 5:30-7:30 pm.
This selection of works in two and three dimensions, and film, from the ‘70s through the early ‘90s, highlights two central themes: the artist’s ongoing collage-like approach to painting and sculpture, and the synthesis of opposing forces such as gravity/balance and open/closed. The artist’s inquisitive and experimental approach which characterizes all stages of her career is manifested in her early video pieces--both Aves (1973) and Reflections on the Moon (1974) will be screened at the gallery during the exhibition.
In works from the 1970s, Graves distanced herself from Conceptualism and Minimalism; she instead developed an expressionist approach (influenced by the Abstract Expressionism instruction at Yale in the early ‘60s) using dots, a finely calibrated linear style, and oblique graphic sources such as satellite maps and scientific illustrations. Her early paintings are composed of vibrant, gestural dashes of intense hues.
Her expressionist impulse was matched by the increasingly vivid, polychrome sculpture created in the 1980s and developed around her groundbreaking work with direct casting, enameling and patinas. Graves’s assembled sculpture defy gravity and challenge the very structure of metal sculpture. Her cast bronze works convey weight and volume but from alternate views may appear skeletal or spindly.
When incorporating three-dimensional sculptural elements onto her canvas, the artist commented, “My painting with its increased planarity, number of canvases, and the addition of sculptural elements has become more sculptural, and the sculpture in turn more varied in surface incident, texture, and detail.” With her confident use of bold color and contortion of shape and composition, Graves’s artwork exudes a humor that acknowledges her historical sources but also challenges the fundamentals of sculpture.
Nancy Graves (1939-1995) earned her MFA from Yale University in 1964. One-person exhibitions of her work have been organized at the Albright-Knox Gallery of Art, NY; Whitney Museum of Art, NY; The Fort Worth Art Museum, TX; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, DC; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, MO; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY and ICA Philadelphia, PA. Graves is represented in the collections of major public institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; National Gallery of Art, DC; National Gallery of Canada, ON; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Whitney Museum of Art, NY; Walker Art Center, MN; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, DC; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL. Catalogues raisonnes have been published on her printed work (1996) and sculpture (1987).
Locks Gallery previously exhibited her work in 1991, 1996 and 2005.