Artist: Deborah Remington
Venue: Wallspace, New York
Curated by: Jay Gorney
Date: June 26 – August 7, 2015
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of the artist’s estate and Wallspace, New York
Wallspace is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings and drawings by Deborah Remington, made between 1963 and 1983.
It feels like an opportune time to consider Remington’s idiosyncratic paintings and drawings. Having become used to looking at glowing, backlit images on computer screens, Remington’s immaculately rendered forms, bathed in a completely unnatural light, can be understood and embraced in new ways by today’s viewer.
Although she was born on the East coast, Remington studied with Clyfford Still and Elmer Bischoff at the California School of Fine Arts (which later became the San Francisco Art Institute) and is closely associated with San Francisco’s Beat generation. Although Remington’s earlier work was tied to more traditional abstract painting, her signature works have never been part of any school or movement and the current climate of stylistic diversity finally provides a more receptive audience.
Remington’s paintings present floating shield-like shapes organized around a central axis. These images, which are bilaterally symmetrical, are at once organic and machine-like. The frontal shapes suggest mirrors and armor, an imagery that is simultaneously attractive and off-putting, as well as compelling and unforgettable. It has roots in both the imagery of Surrealism and of the Machine Age.
Remington’s palette is unusual as she tends to limit her colors to black and white, electric red and blue, a deep green and small touches of orange. This unexpected color system complements and expands upon the singularity of her imagery.
By altering her imagery to suit the medium and scale of her drawings, the central schema becomes asymmetric and increasingly segmented, as compared to her paintings. The graphite surface is velvety, giving the drawings a sense of touch and warmth. The light seems warmer as well, as though lit by incandescent bulbs rather than fluorescents, which otherwise light the paintings externally.
—Jay Gorney, New York, May 2015
DEBORAH REMINGTON (b. Haddonfield, NJ, 1930, d. 2010, Moorestown, NJ) received her BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute where she studied painting with Clyfford Still and became affiliated with the Bay Area’s burgeoning Beat scene. She was one of six painters and poets – and the only woman – who in 1954 founded the now legendary 6 Gallery, where Allen Ginsberg first read his poem, “Howl” in public on October 7, 1955. After graduation, Remington spent two years in Japan studying calligraphy before returning to San Francisco, where she had three solo shows at the Dilexi Gallery and one at the San Francisco Museum of Art. In 1965, Remington moved to New York by which time she had gained renown for an aggressive and emblematic visual language influenced by abstract expressionism. She msade her New York debut in 1967 at the Bykert Gallery, the premier New York gallery for new art at the time. She had three more solo shows there before it closed in 1975. She taught painting at the Cooper Union from 1973 to 1997 and at New York University from 1994-1999. A twenty-year retrospective (1963-1983) of the artist’s work, curated by Paul Schimmel, was held at the Newport Harbor Art Museum, California, in 1983 (now Orange County Museum of Art), traveling to the Oakland Museum of Art and several other venues. Select New York gallery exhibitions include Jack Shainman Gallery (1986) and Mitchell Algus Gallery (2001). More recently, Remington’s work has been featured in several group exhibitions focused on the art of the 1950s and 60s including, Optical and Visionary Art Since the ‘60s, which opened at the San Antonio Museum of Art in 2010 and traveled widely throughout the US. Upcoming exhibitions include: Her Action: Women of Abstract Expressionism, a traveling exhibition organized by the Denver Art Museum with a catalogue to be published by Yale University Press in 2016. Remington was the recipient of numerous grants and awards in her lifetime including a Guggenheim Fellowship (1984), a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1979), and a Tamarind Fellowship (1973), among others. She was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1999 and received a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant that same year.
This exhibition is organized by Jay Gorney with generous cooperation from The Deborah Remington Charitable Trust for the Visual Arts and Margaret Mathews-Berenson, curator of the Trust.