Senior & Shopmaker is pleased to present Polly Apfelbaum: Atomic Mystic Portraits, an exhibition of the artist’s recent monoprints and woodblock prints produced in collaboration with her longtime publisher, Durham Press. In her fabric sculptures, installations, ceramics, and works on paper, Apfelbaum explores complex formal and chromatic relationships, pushing the canon of modernist abstraction in decidedly original directions. Her work is steeped in references to feminism, women's work, craft, and fashion, and in particular the cultural associations inherent in pattern and design.
A recipient of the Rome Prize in 2013-14, Apfelbaum’s Italian visit led to a fascination with the drapery and colored fabrics depicted in Renaissance and Baroque paintings. The fluorescent color of her Byzantine Rocker series is achieved by Apfelbaum’s employment of the split fountain or “rainbow roll” technique, in which multiple colors are partially mixed to achieve a continuous gradient effect. The technique appears again but in smaller segments in works such as Mosaic Mile, a large-scale monoprint inspired by decorative inlay mosaic floors typical of medieval Italian architecture. The “Cosmati” technique entailed elaborate inlays of small triangles and rectangles of colored stones. In Apfelbaum’s work, the effect is crafted from a lexicon of 1500 hand-laid, mosaic-like blocks which are inked and printed in different combinations on heavy handmade paper. The dazzling color and pattern of her new series, Atomic Mystic Portraits and Atomic Mystic Puzzles, are studies in the formal relationship of parts to the whole.
Born in 1955 in Abingdon, Pennsylvania, Polly Apfelbaum resides in New York. Her solo exhibition Face (Geometry) Naked (Eyes) is on view at the Ben Maltz Gallery, OTIS College of Arts and Design, Los Angeles, CA through December 4, 2016. Her work is included in the collections of the Perez Art Museum, Miami; Museum of Modern of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of Art of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; and Musée D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, among others.