Published: October 21, 2008
At this time of year, visitors to this small river town can bask in a kaleidoscope of color, ranging from bearing witness to the brilliant foliage covering the region’s mountainsides to the retrospective of prints by the eminent “Color Field” painter Jules Olitski (1922′007) at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.
On view through November 16, “Jules Olitski: An Inside View” is the first print retrospective of this major figure in Twentieth Century American Art. Olitski was the first living American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art during his lifetime.
Olitski began making prints in the mid-1950s. He eventually branched out into a variety of media, including woodcut, intaglio, silkscreen, lithograph and monotype.
His rarely exhibited early prints include a suite of self-portraits of the artist as a young man. Olitski returned to the subject of his own image in a monotype created in 2004, which will be shown here for the first time, along with the Plexiglas plate from which it was printed.
The 45 works in “Jules Olitski: An Inside View” reveal the artist’s stylistic evolution through five decades. The lush yet nuanced “Graphics Suites” of the 1970s reflect his groundbreaking work using spray paint and color fields.
The expressive gestures and looping shapes of his silkscreens from the 80s and 90s mirror the bold forays into new visual terrain that characterize his paintings from that era. And two small prints completed by the artist just weeks before his death are both joyous celebrations of life and poignant meditations on mortality.
Organized by Brattleboro Museum & Art Center with the assistance from Knoedler & Company and Lauren Olitski Poster, the exhibition will tour throughout 2009 and 2010 to five other museums and art galleries.
The venues are: University of North Carolina’s Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, N.C.; George Washington University’s Luther W. Brady Art Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, Penn.; and the Sage Colleges of Albany’s Opalka Gallery, Albany, N.Y.
Brattleboro Museum is in historic Union Station downtown at the intersection of Main Street (Route 5) and Routes 119 and 142. For more information, 802-257-0124 or www.brattleboromuseum.org .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
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