fresh brings together the work of artists whose engagements with print media and multiples inform the core of their practice; who innovate despite the formal constraints inherent to producing editioned work. For example, Helen Frankenthaler’s technical experimentation with the woodcut process beginning in the 1970s is recognized as having sparked a woodcut revival. In 2017, the Clark Art Institute celebrated the groundbreaking importance of her woodcuts with an exhibition. Snow Pines, a sublime and diaphanous thirty-four color woodcut, exemplifies her inventive manipulation of the woodblock’s surface to create the effect of layered washes.
In contrast, Ellsworth Kelly’s Orange Over Green celebrates unadulterated color and form. Part of the larger Suite of Twenty-Seven Color Lithographs, this striking work from 1964 represents one of Kelly’s earliest engagements with print media and foreshadows his prolific work in lithography. Richard H. Axsom, author of a recent catalogue raisonné of Kelly’s prints, writes “While his paintings and sculptures assert their totemic presence and tangible physicality, his prints register equally important aspects of his vision: intimacy, delicacy, and ethereality.”
In addition to Frankenthaler and Kelly, fresh includes works by modernist icons such as Jean Dubuffet, Brice Marden, Richard Serra, and Louise Nevelson. Ranging in date across the latter half of the twentieth century, and differing in their visual languages, these works nonetheless exhibit a common sensibility of audacity, and of the joy of looking. Meanwhile, works by conceptual artist John Baldessari and by renowned figural painter Alex Katz bring a sense of levity and humor to the exhibition through their exaggerated forms and references to popular consumer culture.
Sandra Cinto’s experimental gravures from the series Chance and Necessity form an additional highlight of the exhibition. Recognized primarily for her monumental, fine-lined drawings and installations evoking billowing clouds and swirling waves, Cinto developed the series Chance and Necessity through an investigation into the material possibilities of water. Letting water carry ink over sheets of mylar to produce unpredictable, ebbing washes of color, Cinto then added precise, finely detailed drawings of geologic forms. This contrast creates an exquisite tension in the finished works.
Taken together, fresh speaks to Talley Dunn Gallery’s longstanding commitment to the importance of printmaking, works on paper, and multiples. The masterful, thought-provoking, and at times subversive works included in the exhibition manifest the gallery’s mission to offer outstanding exhibitions of contemporary art for Dallas audiences. Further, Talley Dunn’s expertise in works on paper will be formally recognized this spring with an award from the international printmaking organization SGCI.
fresh offers an opportunity to view important works by modernist masters and rising contemporary artists. The exhibition’s focus on editioned works and multiples expands and deepens our understanding of these artists’ practices, and in several cases, allows us to experience their unique styles and subjects at a more intimate scale. As an element of ANTIDOTE, which offers complementary programming and works on view in each of the gallery’s different viewing spaces, fresh constitutes an aesthetic and conceptual celebration of the unique power and possibilities of editioned works.