An exhibition of new work by Willard Boepple, Built and Printed, opens at CYNTHIA-REEVES on May 19th at the gallery’s 1315 MASS MoCA Way location in the Berkshires. The artist’s reception from 5 – 7 p.m. is free and open to the public. The exhibition features Boepple’s impeccable monoprints, and his three-dimensional forms, both large and small scale. The works are on view through June 23rd.
Willard Boepple is an unabashed modernist: an innovator within a strong and defined sculptural tradition that renews itself through the rigor he brings to his process, and by his being open to the element of surprise. His aesthetic is refined, with enormous emphasis on economy and restraint. In this exhibition, his monoprints are accompanied by larger scale floor-based sculptures and by a series of 3D printed small sculptures, a new area of exploration. To make his sculptures, he rarely works from drawings or maquettes, but draws the sculptures after they are made, as if to figure out what he has done. It was this drawing practice that led to the inquiry into 3D printing.
Boepple’s colorful works on paper are derived from the shapes and shadows of his sculptures. Those positive and negative shapes evoke structures that are the underpinnings of the prints. The compositional structure of each print is built much the way his sculptures are: geometric shapes placed and reshaped until they click or, in Boepple’s words, “sing.” Base colors are laid into each of the shapes, layer upon layer in a progression that allows the colors to mask and mute, or deepen and intensify. In his words, “it is a thrilling process, building with color.”
The artist writes: “I am an abstract sculptor and I want my work to speak directly without narrative or message other than what is communicated by the sculpture’s own form and presence. Abstract sculpture’s privilege is to be driven purely by the viewer’s visual experience of it -- to reach through the eye into the mind and, when it is really good, straight on into the heart.”
Willard Boepple was born in Bennington, VT in 1945 and currently splits his time between Vermont and New York City. His work is included in the public collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Storm King Art Center, Mountainville; and the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, UK, among others. He was elected to the National Academy of Arts and Letters in New York in 2010 and his work was included in their 2015 invitational exhibition.