LANDSCAPE & ABSTRACTION FREYA GRAND
& THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF THE ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS
DIALOG LANDSCAPE & ABSTRACTION
& THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF THE ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS
The OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C.
Published in conjunction with Dialog: Landscape & Abstraction Freya Grand & the Permanent Collection of the Art Museum of the Americas January 23 - April 26, 2020 The OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C. Copyright 2020 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. www.freyagrand.com ISBN: 978-0-578-62495-2 Chief Editor & Art Director: Hilary Pierce Hatfield Publication Designer: Johanna Biehler Copy Editor: Joel Fletcher Photographs of Freya Grand’s work: Greg Staley Photographs of Freya Grand, Queen Charlotte Islands: Arvin B. Weinstein Photographs from AMA Permanent Collection Courtesy of AMA Digital Image Services: Nancy Gilbert Printing: Schmitz Press front and back cover: Freya Grand, Pu’u O’ o (detail), 2016 Manabu Mabe, Gray (detail), circa 1962, Collection of the OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas, Gift of Yutaka Sanematsu
Foreword by Pablo Zuniga, AMA Director
11 The Exhibition 45 Essay by Hilary Pierce Hatfield, Curator 53 Selected Works by Freya Grand 65 Interview with Freya Grand by Adriana Ospina, AMA Curator 77 Artists and Contributors 83 Acknowledgements 84 Essay Bibliography
The Art Museum of the Americas (AMA) of the Organization of American States
(OAS) is proud to present DIALOG: Landscape and Abstraction | Freya Grand and
AMA’s Permanent Collection; a dialog between Grand’s works and gems from our collection, between AMA’s curator Adriana Ospina and guest curator Hilary Pierce Hatfield, and between landscape and abstraction. These visual conversations demonstrate what is possible when we, as representatives of a richly diverse hemisphere, focus on our similarities rather than our differences.
It is indeed an honor to stage the exhibition of Freya Grand’s brilliant, contemporary landscapes, developed from her travels through the remote regions of Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Ecuador and its Galapagos
Islands. While it may at first glance be striking to experience the delight of how complementary Grand’s landscapes are alongside the abstraction of core OAS collection artists such as María Luisa Pacheco or Ángel Hurtado, it ultimately
comes as no surprise. These works resonate with a profound and shared dialog. Grand’s paintings were made in response to the very same regions of our hemi-
sphere that produced these fine abstractionists and together they shine light on the power, beauty and diversity of this common ground. In addition, as I recall
from my first visit to Freya’s studio, her paintings, while naturalistic, rely on abstraction in an essential way. The conversation between her pieces and those of the AMA’s artists is an evocative one. It is a conversation that is important in our
cross-cultural connection as we approach the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Founded in 1976, the AMA is home of the first art program of modern and
contemporary Latin American and Caribbean art in the United States, originating
in the early 20th century from the Visual Arts Program of the Pan American Union, now the Organization of American States.
Today, the Art Museum of the Americas is the organization’s key instrument of
cultural diplomacy, linking the values of the countries of the Americas. We aim to continue to grow our community to safeguard and treasure our permanent collection as a cultural legacy for future generations.
I congratulate Freya Grand for offering a deeper vision of essential places through her work. I thank our guest curator Hilary Pierce Hatfield for her expertise and
concept for this project, and her outstanding work alongside AMA’s dedicated
curator Adriana Ospina. I also thank everyone involved in making this exhibition possible, including but not limited to: OAS Secretary of Hemispheric Affairs
James Lambert and to the deeply committed staff of the AMA: Nuria Clusel-
la-Fábres, Fabián Goncalves Borrega, Leilani Campbell Hooker and Greg Svitil. This exhibition would not be possible without the support of the FAMA | Friends of the Art Museum of the Americas. Pablo ZÚñiga, Director
OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas
Gray (detail), Manabu Mabe, circa 1962, oil on canvas, 58 x 67" Collection of the OAS AMA| Art Museum of the Americas, Gift of Yutaka Sanematsu
“The shapes are everything that I felt about the primal power of those mountains, the feeling that the force of creation was still in the air.” - freya grand, artist’s journal 2005
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DIALOG: LANDSCAPE & ABSTRACTION | FREYA GRAND & THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF THE ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS
This exhibition pairs the immersive landscapes of Freya Grand with the abstract paintings of six Latin American painters whose works are in the permanent collection of the Art Museum of the Americas: Ángel Hurtado (Venezuela),
María Luisa Pacheco (Bolivia), Aníbal Villacís (Ecuador) and Danilo di Prete, Tomie Ohtake and Manabu Mabe (Brazil).
The works were selected through a conversation between AMA’s curator Adriana Ospina and guest curator Hilary Piece Hatfield. Hatfield was invited to explore AMA’s extensive digital archive and in doing so she noted strong connections between Freya Grand’s landscape paintings and certain abstract works in the permanent collection.
Ospina and Hatfield then visited Freya Grand’s Washington D.C. studio and
continued their dialog with the artist, conversing about pairing her work with
Hatfield’s selections from nearly a thousand works in AMA’s permanent collection. The curators found that this process led them to the selection of many of the
same pairings. Together they selected paintings that convey a common language through their forms, textures, compositions and impressions. The resulting
exhibition demonstrates that there is an essential dialog between landscape and abstraction, one that can be universal and shared.
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Paisagem Cosmica No. 2 (Cosmic Landsacpe No. 2), 1963, Danilo di Prete, mixed media on canvas, 58 x 58â&#x20AC;? Collection of OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas. Gift of Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho
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Chimborazo (Ecuador), 2006, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?, detail on page 8/9
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Signo En El Espacio, 1962, Ángel Hurtado, oil on canvas, 62 x 76” Collection of OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas
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Poas (Costa Rica), 2004, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?, detail on page 16/17
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â&#x20AC;&#x153;I am compelled to stand on that piece of earth, to feel the elevation and the silence, to record the feelings of the experience and to make those feelings into paintings.â&#x20AC;? - freya grand, artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s journal 2017
Tungurahua (Ecuador), 2011, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?, detail on page 20/21
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Composition 1960, María Luisa Pacheco 1960, oil on canvas, 48 x 61”. Collection of OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas
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Shrouded Peak (Peru), 2003, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?, detail on page 26/27
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“The primordial wind and the astonishment of what I see – all of this is what I will paint.” - freya grand, artist’s journal 2014, peru
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Precolumbino, 1973, Aníbal Villacís, mixed media on plywood, 41.33 x 47.75” Collection of OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas
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Pinnacle (Galapagos Islands), 2006, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?, Private Collection, detail on page 30/31
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Gray, circa 1962, Manabu Mabe, oil on canvas, 58 x 67" Collection of the OAS AMA| Art Museum of the Americas, Gift of Yutaka Sanematsu
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Pu’u O’o (Hawaii), 2016, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60”, detail on page 34/35
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Untitled, 1994, Tomie Ohtake, engraving/etching 2/30, 31 x 21”, and Untitled, 1994, Tomie Ohtake, engraving/etching 4/30, 21 x 31” Collection of OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas
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Macal Rocks (Belize), 2013, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 72â&#x20AC;?, detail on page 38/39
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Untitled, 1968 , Tomie Ohtake, oil on canvas, 54.5 x 44.62â&#x20AC;?. Collection of OAS AMA | Art Museum of the Americas
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Eruption (Ecuador), 2015, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 48â&#x20AC;?, detail on page 42/43
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“A series of paintings is also a journey. There is a moving rhythm from piece to piece. In, out, rise and fall. The hovering aerial view and the vertiginous plunge.” — freya grand, artist’s journal 2019, ecuador
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ESSAY BY HILARY PIERCE HATFIELD, GUEST CURATOR ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS
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“The realist thinks he knows ahead of time what reality is, and the abstract artist what art is….and the best abstract art communicates an overwhelming sense of reality.” - fairfield porter
Rock Ledge Deep Cove, 2003, Freya Grand, oil on mylar. Private Collection
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THE ESSENTIAL EYE by Hilary Pierce Hatfield, ’86 MICA
There are many ways to see things, but to truly see, one must be willing to delve
deeply and to ask as many questions as possible, until exactly the right questions are asked, but not with the objective of getting a definitive answer. Artists who
see with an essential eye seek to create visual evidence of how they have seen, not necessarily what they have seen.
This profound practice of seeing takes passion, intuition and commitment. It is
more than mere perception. Most of us function in the realm of perception, while
certain artists invest themselves entirely in the development of an essential eye.
The DIALOG: Landscape and Abstraction exhibition presents the results of this
way of seeing, as exemplified in the work of seven painters; six non-representa-
tional artists working in Central and South America in the mid-20th century, and the contemporary American painter Freya Grand.
It is important to note that there is a balance of male and female artists in the
exhibition, as well as artists with origins in the eastern and the western hemi-
spheres. Both Tomie Ohtake (1913-2015) and Manabu Mabe (1924-1997) left
Japan in the 1930’s during the Second Sino-Japanese War and began their
notable painting careers in Brazil. Mabe first hand-painted neck ties in São Paulo,
while Ohtake initially focused on figuration and traditional forms of landscape.
Both painters then began to move into abstraction by the mid-20th century;
synthesizing their minimalist, Eastern sensibilities with the earthy power of Latin
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The natural path from realism to abstraction, and
The artist with an essential eye drives at the origin
non-representational painters. Abstract Expres-
Modernist, Georgia O’Keeffe explored the terrain
sometimes back again, is familiar to many
and core of his or her subject. As American
sionist Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) apprenticed
of the Southwest, she was fixated on the sun
Hart Benton (1889-1975). Pollock’s bold, rhythmic
made their way back to dust. She describes the
with the American regionalist painter, Thomas
lines and innovative, sweeping skeins of paint in
Blue Poles, 1952, appear to be hung on the solid
underpinnings of the muralist landscape tech-
nique that he learned from Benton and Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. In fact, Pollock
was deeply influenced by his keen observations
of the landscape in which he grew up and the seascape where he would find refuge when
bleached remains of desert creatures as they
exquisite beauty of the stripped-down forms, shapes and shadows found in animal bones.
“The bones seem to cut sharply to the center of something that is keenly alive… even tho’ it is
vast and empty and untouchable – and knows no kindness with all its beauty.”– georgia o’keeffe
creating his ground-breaking technique. Pollack, having left his landlocked home of Cody,
Wyoming, for the art mecca of New York City, recalls the impact of seeing the ocean for the
“The ocean is alive, full of tricks and moods. It can slap you, pat you and roll you. It’s where life
began… since I first saw it, that great source stays with me – nights, city, it follows me…that ground
swell is the universe breathing, over and over, short and long. On a good day, my work feels
like that – alive, strong, all me.” – jackson pollock Pelvis IV, Georgia O'Keeffe, 1944. Oil on Masonite, 36 1/16 x 40 3/8 inches. Georgia O'Keeffe Museum. Gift of The Burnett Foundation. © Private Collection. [1997.6.1]
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To O’Keeffe, the undulating planes and surfaces
just of the physicality of the land itself, but to
cosms of the desert, similar to the dioramas
for her. She recorded her experiences through
of her collection of bones appeared to be micro-
the emotions and sensations the landscapes held
she made as a child growing up in Wisconsin.
seeing, smelling, and touching the earth and then
trained her essential eye as a child, also creating
forms on canvas, to recall the elements she had
Artist Freya Grand, also a Wisconsin native,
returned to her studio to carefully carve out the
miniature “worlds” of her own design. Later as
the 1970’s, she would venture off to live on the
Painters of the 19th century also trekked miles
British Columbia. Every day was an act of creation
most breathtaking places on the earth and
a young activist and post-college art student in land in the remote Queen Charlotte Islands in
into jungles and up mountainsides to sketch the
for Grand, who lived for three years entirely off
create fantastic visual testimonies in their studios.
the sometimes harsh elements of nature. Grand
man of the Hudson River School, stirred intense
the grid, learning to survive in harmony with
describes this formative experience as direct and real.
“Nature was not an abstraction. It was not “out
there”. It shook us hard and breathed down our
necks.” – freya grand
At first, when working as a full-time painter and
Frederic Church (1826-1900), the master show-
emotion in over twelve thousand viewers who lined up to see his epic painting, The Heart of
the Andes (1859). Patrons of every class paid 25
cents, over $7.50 per person in today’s money, to
see the 9-foot-long painting as it was dramatically
unveiled in a darkened, gas-lit exhibition gallery at the 10th Street Studio in New York.
muralist, Grand’s subjects focused on stark
Church urged viewers to stand back and use
isolation. Then a trek to the heights of the Andes
his painting; a crashing waterfall, lush flora, exotic
interiors, evoking feelings of estrangement and
after the death of her father opened Grand up to an expansive and immersive point of view, not
opera glasses to examine the incredible details of birds and vast verdant terrain, all articulated in
great detail. American humorist Mark Twain recounts his impression of the painting.
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“You will never get tired of looking at the picture, but your reflections – your efforts to grasp an
By the 1930’s, artists in the Americas were
turning their gaze inward. In 1938 in Santa Fe,
intelligible Something – you hardly know what –
New Mexico, the Transcendental Painting Group
from the thing. In order to obtain relief. You may
scape, and instead channeled the feeling of
will grow so painful that you have to go away
find relief, but you cannot banish the picture – it remains with you still. It is in my mind now –
and the smallest feature could not be removed without my detecting it.” - mark twain
Women swooned when the curtains covering the painting were drawn back to reveal the jungle
landscape with the grandeur of the snow-capped
ignored the panorama of Southwestern landthe desert with their use of color, forms and
symbols, all derived from the land and Native
American archetypes. The work was spiritual,
primal, sensual and unmistakably evocative of the feeling of the Southwest. The central idea of the
manifesto for The Transcendental Group acknowl-
edges the “source” as essential to their work.
Andes in the distance. The painting was framed with a massive casement-window–like frame,
which kept the audience at a safe distance from the subject. The dazzling visual inventories of
Church’s paintings and those of his fellow Hudson River School artists were designed to impress. Even though this truly American movement in
ecological painting gave rise to National Parks
like Yellowstone, the collective experience of the
works did not instill enough empathy to promote
a widespread conservation effort. In fact, the
American desire to occupy, extinguish and exploit only increased well into the 21st century .
Watercolor No.11, Raymond Jonson, watercolor on paper, 1948. Courtesy of Addison Rowe Gallery, Santa Fe, NM
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“The Transcendental Painting Group is composed of artists who are concerned with the development and presentation of various types of
non-representational painting; painting that
finds its source in the creative imagination and does not depend on the objective approach.”
- transcendental painting group - statement of purpose, circa 1938
A similar approach to seeing, happening at the
emotions and ideas, from the “anxieties aroused by the barely known” to dark curiosities from his
experience of global conflict and the advent of the atomic bomb.
Now, at a time when anxieties are running high
over the global crisis of climate change, the work of Freya Grand offers us a critical opportunity.
Her body of work derived from her experiences within the earth’s most vast, fragile and in some
same time, was in the work of Bolivian artist María
cases rapidly changing places, speaks to our
material of her ancestral culture and the land-
through an essential eye; to feel how it is to be in
Luisa Pacheco (1919-1982), who referenced the scape of Bolivia in her use of forms and color,
and that of Aníbal Villacís (1927-2012), who drew from Pre-Columbian relief sculpture in his use
collective need to see the earth more holistically, such places, to be totally immersed and to share in that experience.
of symbols and his approach to composition.
Within the use of the fundamental language of
forms, color and composition, the essential eye
becomes more evident. This language, even
when derived from specific cultural references, is entirely universal. This is because emotions
and sensations and the human experience of them are also universal.
The Venezuelan artist and filmmaker Ángel
Hurtado (1927- ) describes his abstract paintings
as “inner landscapes” which depict a range of
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SELECTED WORKS BY FREYA GRAND
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Cloud II (France), 2015, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?
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Antrim Rocks (Ireland), 2019, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 60 x 48â&#x20AC;?
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Swamp (United States of America), 2018, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?
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Rainforest (Costa Rica), 2016, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 60 x 48â&#x20AC;?
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Cerros (Argentina), 2015, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 72â&#x20AC;?
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Thorsmork (Iceland), 2017, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?
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Poisoned Glen (Ireland), 2018, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 60 x 48â&#x20AC;?
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Glacier Opening (Iceland), 2018, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 48â&#x20AC;?
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Glacier Edge (Iceland), 2018, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60â&#x20AC;?
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INTERVIEW WITH FREYA GRAND BY ADRIANA OSPINA, CURATOR ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS
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Cotopaxi Sketch (Ecuador), 2005, Freya Grand, Artistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Journal
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INTERVIEW WITH FREYA GRAND Conducted by AMA | Art Museum of the Americas Curator of Collections, Adriana Ospina
ADRIANA OSPINA: Freya, I would like to begin
this interview by talking about the idea of
landscape. How do you relate to this concept,
both as an aesthetic and a physical experience? FREYA GRAND : The word “landscape” is really
shorthand to describe both the world outside of man’s built environment and the history of
depictions by artists who were trying to convey
an experience – the experience of what it felt like to be in nature and to feel a sense of wonder. I came to landscape from previous decades
of working in both abstraction and in a more
narrative style, but the underlying thread in my work throughout the years has always been
emotion, my own inner life. As to the physical
Chimborazo, 2005, Freya Grand, Studio Drawing
the center of the endeavor for me.
When I am working on a painting – for instance
Remote places are usually a challenge to reach,
sensations of the constant wind and the thin,
part of this process, that has always been at
requiring long hours of hiking and climbing.
I love that physical aspect of my work because it is part of the reward of seeing; the body
memory becomes inseparable from the visual experience.
the painting CHIMBORAZO – I vividly recall the cold air that left me gasping for breath. What I
am trying to say is that the whole experience is a kinesthetic one. The connection between the emotion and the bodily sensations are what I seek to convey in the completed paintings.
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thought had run its natural course. The ideas
and feelings that I had been working from had
been exhausted and were no longer authentic. The death of my father coincided with this period and the grief that I felt stopped my working
altogether for a while. In an effort to sooth my soul and to escape my own sad and anxious
rooms, I went on my first trip to Latin America, to the Galapagos Islands and then to Machu
Picchu. The overwhelming beauty of the Andes was unlike anything I had ever seen. It is hard
to describe how I felt – both very small, and yet greatly enlarged in spirit at the same time. Iceland Sketch, 2017, Freya Grand, Artist’s Journal
ADRIANA: When did you start to shift towards
landscapes? What was the trigger that allowed you to pursue the landscape in your work? Tell us about the transition from your narrative
ragged clouds, the inescapable sense of ongoing creation, and the open door of my own wounded spirit all came together. Something new was set in motion.
ADRIANA : Let’s talk about your travels
interiors to your landscapes.
through the Americas. What is it that you are
FREYA : I had found myself at a juncture in my
the hemisphere? How do you choose your
work in 2000, 2001. “Juncture” being a euphe-
mism for “dead end” – an extremely uncomfortable time in the work life of any artist. As you
looking for when exploring different sites of destinations?
FREYA : What I am always looking for are places
mentioned, my previous work was more narra-
untouched by the hand of man, places of wild-
shapes and altered, unpredictable perspectives
the qualities that attract me. I look toward the
tive, describing empty rooms whose undulating referred to the emotional events that had taken
place within them. But it seemed that my train of | 68 |
The terrifying beauty of those peaks with their
ness, beauty, starkness, immensity. These are
sea, the mountains, the forests, rocky outcroppings. Places where the beautiful and the
FREYA : To briefly describe this very formative
period of my life: almost immediately after
graduating from university my then-husband and I set out on a quest that landed us on the Queen Charlotte Islands in northern British Columbia. It
had been a time of deep political unrest in the US and we, like many other ardent protesters against the War in Vietnam, were seeking a new way of life. There was a strong feeling among many of
us that the only truly ethical and authentic thing to do was to not participate in mainstream US
society, but rather to live close to the land in the Freya Grandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cabin, 1970, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia
ominous are both present. Places where I can
see the underlying bones of the earth and where I will be moved by what I see.
The Americas are such a rich trove of beauty with
manner of previous generations.
We ended up living in an old cedar-shake cabin with no electricity. We worked a large garden. We ate venison and salmon that we procured
Freya Grand, 1971, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia
widely varying ecosystems. There are vast tracts of
land where humans rarely walk, formations that are far too rugged and forbidding to be built upon, manifestations of dramatic geological forces.
ADRIANA : I am intrigued by your experience in
the Queen Charlotte Islands in Canada. Could
you tell me more about that period of your life? How does this experience contribute to your landscape work?
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clockwise: Freya Bridling a Horse, 1971, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia Cabin Kitchen, 1971, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia Freya Drawing in Exchange for a Chain Saw, 1970, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia Feeding the Chickens, 1971, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia
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ourselves. We heated and cooked with wood,
of being there. It took me several trips to refine my
behind the house. We bathed in the river in the
impressions. At first I found myself overwhelmed
used kerosene lamps, drew water from a well
summer and in a galvanized tub in the winter. The work of each day was determined by
weather and season. Nature was not an abstraction. It was not “out there”. It shook us hard and breathed down our necks.
A fundamental result of my wilderness experience is a deep respect for work done with the
technique for preservation of these important first when I returned to my studio weeks later. There
was so much, so many competing impressions – like too many conversations going on at once.
Over time I learned that I could capture that vital imprint by using a combination of drawings and
words to mark a place. These “captures” are like a three dimensional diary.
hands. Making things as a way of life. A life on
I carry a backpack with my journal, drawing
you can and must depend on the skills of your
drawings, often sitting on a high vantage point.
the land engenders a different kind of outlook – own hands. How you make something matters.
I’m not saying that you have to live in the wilderness in order to know these things, but if you have lived that life of crucial physicality, it
changes you, even after you have moved back
to the city. You bring back with you a resilience
and a self-reliance that may not have been there before. My seeking of remote and wild places whose shapes inform my work is very much a part of that trajectory. My sense that wildness
is not at the edge of consciousness, it is at the very center.
ADRIANA : I’ve heard about your journals. What
is their role in your creative process?
FREYA : Exploring a new place produces a flood
of impressions – the full and rich sensory impact
materials, watercolors, a camera. I make small I may choose to record the shapes of a vast
sweep of terrain or a small tangle of foliage or
the outline of a rocky outcropping. I write words and phrases describing what it feels like to be
there, what this place seems to be about, words that are my personal keys to the experience. If
weather permits, I will do a quick pencil or watercolor scetch.
ADRIANA : Tell us more about your studio process.
How does a painting by Freya Grand come to be? FREYA : When I return to my studio with those
recorded impressions, I bring them together and
I begin drawing. For some artists, primary impressions come in the form of color and light. For
me the feelings reside in the weight and juxtaposition of shapes. Solid forms intersecting or
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Patagonia Sketch, 2014, Freya Grand, Artist’s Journal
pushing against each other, the tension held
The question that I have to ask myself repeatedly
water, these are where the eloquence of the
lies at the center of it?” As the work of the
in a negative space, the flow of shadows or moment resides.
The drawing becomes the road map for the
canvas, from there it becomes what painting is – the slow building of surfaces from the blocky
painting progresses, I often need to re-envision
my original impression, high up on that ridge or deep in that canyon.
ADRIANA : The environment is such an important
laying-in of the shapes, to the shifting of edges
topic these days. Let’s talk about how issues of
to the development of the complexity of the
type of questions you raise through your paintings.
to attain just the right movement and balance, final surface. | 72 |
is “what was this place about? What was it that
the environment are linked to your work and the
Patagonia Sketch, 2014, Freya Grand, Artist’s Journal
FREYA : Like many of us, I have watched this
us who have forgotten.
planet. And I have become more and more
By describing the sweep and power of the earth’s
climate change is a critical contributor to what we
will feel the meaning of these places. As I did at
growing flood of facts charting the injury to our convinced that while the scientific evidence on must comprehend, people are most willing to
pay attention and to change when their emotions have been engaged. Art can play a vital role in
phenomenal and fragile fabric, I hope that others that moment in the Andes.
ADRIANA : Let’s talk about your exhibition at
engaging emotion – it is what we artists do. We
the AMA | Art Museum of the Americas. Our
the phenomena of the natural world, invoking a
a long while, giving a more prominent space
can enrich the conversation with depictions of
deeper response and helping to remind those of
institution hasn’t shown landscape painting in to abstraction. For us this project is not only a | 73 |
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South Coast II (Iceland), 2018, Freya Grand, oil on panel, 6 x 6 x 2”
Surge (Ireland), 2012, Freya Grand, oil on panel, 8 x 8 x 2”
Crevice (Hawaii), 2017, Freya Grand, oil on panel, 6 x 6 x 2”
Cajas Woods (Ecuador), 2013, Freya Grand, oil on panel, 8 x 8 x 2”
reconciliation with landscape painting, but
ADRIANA : I am really excited about the
also an experiment to find a common language
juxtaposition of lyrical abstraction and land-
abstract Latin American artists. How do you
between your work and the work of our
see the pairing process? How do you see your work within this new framework?
FREYA : When Hilary Hatfield first proposed
this exhibition to you and to Pablo Zuniga, I was amazed to see the resonance in the pairings
that she was suggesting. And then I was further amazed to see how you and Hilary seemed to
arrive at nearly identical choices right from the beginning. There was obviously a fine level of
visual understanding between the two of you as co-curators and with my work and the works in the Museum’s permanent collection.
I think this speaks to the soundness of the
exhibition concept of “Dialog”. It suggests that the idea was a natural one and that there is
indeed a deep connectedness between the
work of the Latin American abstractionists and my paintings of their landscapes.
My work treads the line between realism
and abstraction, so although my paintings have subject matter and a sense of place, they, like
abstract works, come from within and tap into the sense of life that resides within shapes. You and Hilary both saw that.
scape. Let’s talk about your favorite pairing in
FREYA : I think one of them is my painting titled
Chimborazo paired with Pasagen Cosmica no. 2 by Danilo di Prete. Both works have strong,
jagged, up-thrusting shapes that penetrate a kind
of milky fog, as well as similarly placed scatterings of small shapes. In my painting those shapes
happen to be boulders, but their similarity to di
Prete’s placement of abstract forms is remarkable. The two paintings have a similar light/dark balance, they carry a similar earthy power.
ADRIANA : The Art Museum of the Americas is
a part of the Organization of American States, an international entity that works for the
entire American hemisphere and the Caribbean. How do you see your work in this larger Inter-American discourse?
FREYA : We share a hemisphere. We are joint
inhabitants of this part of the earth. Artists in
every country are observing and working from what we see and feel and we convey these
feelings in visual form. The symbolic language used by artists is universally recognizable.
Seeing my work in the context of the work of
these other artists is a real thrill. It is like joining a chorus of voices.
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ARTISTS AND CONTRIBUTORS
Erongo Rocks (Namibia), 2014, Freya Grand, oil on canvas, 48 x 60”
| 77 |
ÁNGEL HURTADO (B. 1927– )
Freya Grand is a native of Madison, Wisconsin and
Ángel Hurtado was born in Venezuela and enjoyed
received her Bachelors of Fine Arts Degree at the
a career as both a painter and filmmaker spending
University of Wisconsin in Madison. Her artistic training
his formative years as an artist in Paris. He began
was later supplemented by courses in Japanese
painting informally in 1941 in his native El Tocuyo and
woodblock printing at the prestigious Haystack
then, two years later, studied briefly with Octavio
Mountain School in Deer Isle, Maine, and by additional
Alvarado and José María Giménez while also experi-
advanced courses in painting (at the UW) and intaglio
menting with photography. In 1946 he enrolled at the
(in the private studio of Sandra Soll). Following
Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Hurtado left for
graduation she spent three years living on the remote
Europe in 1954 visiting Caracas, Spain, and then Paris.
Queen Charlotte Islands in Northern British Columbia,
While in Paris he worked as the cinematographer on
an experience that reinforced her deep connection
four films and in 1955 Hurtado exhibited his abstract
with the natural world.
paintings in the Salon des Realités Nouvelles and in 1956 at the Première Exposition Internationale de l’Art
In the years since 2001, Grand has traveled yearly to
Plastique Contemporain at the Musée des Beaux-Arts.
remote and untouched places in the world including the Andes in Ecuador, Chile, Argentina and Peru, the deserts
In 1957 his paintings were included in the Fourth
and mountains of Namibia, the glaciers of Iceland, the
Bienal de São Paulo and the 29th Venice Biennale.
swamps of Louisiana and Mississippi. These wild places
Hurtado returned to Venezuela and in 1959 had his
continue to inspire and inform her work.
first solo exhibition at the Visual Arts Section of the OAS, and in the following year he became the Director of the
Freya has exhibited her work in galleries and museums
film department of Televisora Nacional, a position he
in Chicago, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Santa
held until 1965. In 1970 he joined the audiovisual unit
Fe and Washington DC. In 2013, the National Museum
of the OAS Visual Arts Section and continued to paint
of Women in the Arts presented a solo exhibition
throughout his career at the OAS until his retirement in
Freya Grand: Minding the Landscape curated by the
1989, eventually moving away from abstraction in favor
museum’s Deputy Director Kathryn Wat.
of colorful landscapes with a distinctively mystical bent.
Grand’s work is in the collections of US Trust Corporation, the State of Wisconsin, the Government of the District of Columbia Art Bank with four Purchase Awards and numerous corporate and private collections in the United States, Canada and Europe. Her studio is in the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. | 78 |
MANABU MABE (1924 –1997)
TOMIE OHTAKE (1913– 2015)
Japanese-Brazilian artist Manabu Mabe emigrated from
Tomie Ohtake was born in Kyoto, Japan, in 1913. In
Japan in 1934 with his family. They settled on a São Paulo coffee plantation and eventually purchased land near Guaimbé. Mabe began painting informally in 1945, to his father’s displeasure, but in 1948 he met artist Yoshiya Takaoka, who encouraged the young artist. Mabe began exhibiting in 1950 first at Associação dos Artistas de São Paulo and then the Sãla Nacional de Belas Artes in Rio de Janeiro in 1951. The 1950s would be an auspicious decade for Mabe. He began his loose association with the Japanese-Brazilian artist organization Grupo Seibi and would show in his home country, participating in the International Exhibition in Tokyo in 1957 and 1959. In 1953 he was included in the Second Bienal de São Paulo and would show there repeatedly throughout the decade, winning the top prize in 1959, as well as the Braun Editions Award at the First Young Artists Biennial in Paris, which led Time Magazine to dub 1959 as “The Year of Manabu Mabe.” His first exhibition at the OAS was in 1961, followed by a Seibei exhibit at the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro in 1964. Mabe continued to paint and exhibit and was honored with a retrospective at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo in 1986.
1936, at the age of twenty-three, she traveled to Brazil to visit a brother who had already settled there. With the tensions that revolved around the start of World War II, she decided to remain in São Paulo. It was not until later in her life, in the 1950s, that Ohtake took up painting, after being exposed to the work in the studio of another Brazilian of Japanese descent, the painter Keisuke Sugano. Ohtake began with landscape and figurative subjects, but then became attracted to abstraction. She had her first exhibition in 1957 at the Sãlao Nacional de Arte Moderna, and in 1961 participated in the VI São Paulo Biennial. She was also part of the Venice and Tokyo biennials in the 1970s, and participated in more than twenty international biennials throughout her life. In the 1980s, Ohtake focused more on the public art and site-specific sculptures for which she is well-known in Brazil and Japan. These large-scale installations – located in cities such as São Paulo, Guarulhos, and Tokyo – gave life to her two-dimensional linear abstract paintings. Ohtake pursued public art commissions including mosaic murals for the Consolação Station of the São Paulo metro as well as a wave-shaped sculpture commemorating the 80th anniversary of Japanese immigration to Brazil (2008). Throughout her long life, Ohtake had more than 120 solo shows, 400 collective shows, and won twenty-eight important awards. In 2001 her son Ruy designed São Paulo’s Instituto Tomie Ohtake in her honor as a space to host local and international visual arts exhibitions.
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MARÍA LUISA PACHECO (1919 –1982)
DANILO DI PRETE (1911–1985)
Born in La Paz, Bolivia, to architect Julio Mariaca Pando
Born in Pisa, Danilo Di Prete began exhibiting in Italy in
and Teresa Dietrich Zalles, María Luisa Pacheco, née María
the early 1930s and, during World War II, he was part
Luisa Dietrich Zalles, began her artistic education in 1934
of the Artisti Italiani in Armi, a cultural exchange with
at the Acadamia de Bellas Artes, under Jorge de la Reza
Germany that sent him to Berlin and Düsseldorf.
and Cecilio Guzmán de Rojas. In 1948 she joined the
Following the war, he settled in São Paulo and between
newspaper La Razón for two years as an illustrator and
1946 and 1950 he worked principally as a designer and
then decided to take up painting in earnest, traveling to
enjoyed national acclaim for his posters, exhibiting in
Spain in 1951 on a fellowship from the Spanish Ministry
the Salão Nacional de Arte Moderna and the Salão
of Foreign Affairs. She attended classes at the Real
Paulista de Arte Moderna among other venues. Di
Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid
Prete would become a major force in the Bienal de São
and studied privately with artist David Vásquez Díaz.
Paulo, winning the first prize in painting at the inaugural
Upon her return to Bolivia in 1953, Pacheco joined the
biennial in 1951. Awards at numerous biennials followed
faculty of the Academia de Bellas Artes and helped
and he was granted a special room at the Sixth in 1961,
found the group Ocho Contemporáneos. She began to
the Ninth in 1967, and the 10th in 1969. José Gómez
exhibit regularly thereafter, including at the III Bienal de
Sicre and Sir Herbert Read also took notice of di Prete’s
São Paulo in 1955.
latest work and included him in the 1962 exhibition New Directions of Art from South America: Paintings
In 1956 she relocated to New York City and began
from Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay, drawn from the
exhibiting at Galería Sudamericana. The following year
first Bienal Americana de Arte in Córdoba, Argentina.
José Gómez Sicre invited her to exhibit at the Visual Arts Section of the OAS. Her work at the time demonstrated the strong influence of Cuban Wifredo Lam but, living in New York City in the heyday of abstract expressionism, she gradually moved away from representational imagery. After a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1958 and a brief return to Bolivia in 1961, Pacheco looked to the “gigantic landscape and the ancient art of Bolivia.” She remained in the United States for the rest of her career, showing at the Lee Ault and Company Gallery from 1971 until its close in 1980.
| 80 |
ANÍBAL VILLACÍS (1927– 2012)
ADRIANA OSPINA, AMA CURATOR
Aníbal Villacís was born in Ambato, Ecuador. By 1949 he
Adriana Ospina is a co-curator of the exhibition DIALOG:
began exhibiting his early figural works in his hometown
Landscape and Abstraction | Freya Grand and AMA’s
and soon achieved recognition as an artist. In 1953 he
Permanent Collection. Over her ten year-career at AMA,
received a grant from the Ecuadoran government to
she has held various positions including Educational
study in Europe where, after a year in Paris, he enrolled
Program Manager, and since 2014 Curator of its Perma-
at the Academía de San Fernando in Madrid, remaining
nent Collection. She has curated a number of exhibitions,
there for the next six years. In 1954 he held an individual
among them Fusion: Tracing Asian Migration to the
exhibition at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid. Villacís
Americas; Femininity Beyond Archetypes: Photography by
was first exposed to abstraction in Spain, where he came
Natalia Arias; A Gaze through the CINTAS Fellowship
into contact with artists working in an informalist mode
Program: A Selection of Works from the CINTAS Founda-
such as Antoni Tàpies, Antonio Sauro, and Modest Cuixart.
tion among others. She is the curator of the upcoming
He began incorporating aspects of their approach into
exhibition Cultural Encounters: Art of Asian Diasporas in
his work and subsequently embraced abstraction as his
Latin America & The Caribbean 1945-Present which will
primary means of expression. Upon his return to Ecuador,
travel nationally. She is the co-curator of the exhibition
Villacís, together with several other artists, founded the
Visual Memory: Home + Place at AMA | Art Museum of the
artists’ collective VAN (Vanguardia Artística Nacional), a
Americas. Ospina edited the book Collection of the Art
group that opposed the predominance of indigenism in
Museum of the Americas of the Organization of American
Ecuadoran painting and advocated for a new approach
States (OAS, 2017). She holds an MA in Art History from
to art-making that was simultaneously universal and
George Mason University.
rooted in the region’s pre-Columbian culture. In 1962 José Gómez Sicre invited him to hold a oneperson show at the Pan American Union. He was the first Ecuadoran artist working in an abstract mode to exhibit there. In 1965 he won the Mariano Aquilera prize for his abstract composition Incaico. By the mid-1970s, however, he had returned to painting in a figurative mode. Villacís exhibited throughout Latin America (Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Brazil, El Salvador), the United States, and Europe. In 2007 Villacís received the prestigious Premio Eugenio Espejo, presented by the president of Ecuador.
| 81 |
HILARY PIERCE HATFIELD, GUEST CURATOR:
JOHANNA BIEHLER, CATALOG DESIGN:
Hilary Pierce Hatfield is a co-curator of the exhibition
Johanna Biehler is the graphic designer at the Walters
DIALOG: Landscape and Abstraction | Freya Grand and
Art Museum in Baltimore. She has been working at the
AMA’s Permanent Collection. She is a fine art professional
Walters for over 20 years with a wide range of tasks,
with over 25 years of experience in the visual arts, in both
from invitations, posters, and marketing campaigns, to
the non-profit and private sectors. She is a graduate of
exhibition graphics, info graphics, and wayfinding. Her
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) 86’, first working
work has won numerous awards in the annual design
for the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, planning
competition of the Association of American Museums.
exhibitions and producing a film on artist Alison Sarr for
For many years she has taught workshops at the
the museum. She has served as an Adjunct Professor and
Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) and she
as an advisor for the Curatorial Studies program at MICA.
continues to be a regular guest critic there.
She has also served on the grants committee for Maryland State Arts Council. Over her career, Ms. Hatfield has worked with numerous museums in facilitating exhibitions, loans, gifts and acquisitions including the Musee de Vernon, France; The Kyoto Museum, Japan; The Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, Tennessee; The New York Historical Society and The African American Museum in Philadelphia. She is an advisor for private and family foundation collections, and acted as a founding curator for the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art, which was exhibited at the African American Museum in Philadelphia and Portland Art Museum. Over the past 10 years, Mrs. Hatfield has focused her curatorial practice on the work of marginalized artists, women and artists of color. She has studied the history of American landscape painting with a focus on the Hudson River School and is Chief Advisor to The Albert Babb Insley Legacy Project. Ms. Hatfield is the Founder and President of Art Collector’s Athenaeum.
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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Freya Grand wishes to thank the following individuals for their support of the exhibition and this catalog: Marie Elena Amatangelo Susan Bass Michael Beidler Paul H Ellis Alina Gorokhovsky Hilary Pierce Hatfield George Hemphill Adriana Ospina Claudia Pinto Claudia Rousseau Greg Staley Greg Svitil Kathryn Wat Pablo Zuniga
| 83 67 |
BIBLIOGRAPHY, ESSAY, page 45 Avery, Kevin J. (Winter 1986). “The Heart of the Andes Exhibited: Frederic E. Church’s Window on the Equatorial World”. American Art Journal. Kennedy Galleries, Inc. Benke, Britta, and Karen Williams. Georgia O’Keeffe, 1887-1986: Flowers in the Desert. Taschen, 2005. Byers, Bruce. “The Art of Ecology: The Pilgrimage to the Heart of the Andes.” Bruce Byers Consulting, Feb. 2015, www.brucebyersconsulting.com/the-art-of-ecology-a-pilgrimage-to-the-heart-ofthe-andes/. Cernuschi, Claude. Jackson Pollock: Meaning and Significance. Icon Ed. HarperCollins, 1993. “Heart of the Andes, 1859.” Metmuseum.org, www.metmuseum.org/en/art/collection/ search/10481. Morais, Frederico. “Tomie Ohtake’s Building of Forms.” Instituto Tomie Ohtake, www.institutotomieohtake.org.br/en/tomie_ohtake/interna/o-edificio-de-formas-tomie-ohtake. Ospina, Adriana, “Art of the Americas: Collection of the Art Museum of the Americas of the Organization of American States”. OAS| AMA and Friends of the Art Museum of the Americas, 2017. Ottmann, Klaus, and Fairfield Porter. Fairfield Porter Raw: the Creative Process of an American Master. Giles, 2010. Rocco, Renata. “Danilo Di Prete: Between Syndical Exhibitions in Italy and São Paulo Biennial of Art.” Transregional Academies, Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Foundation and Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), 8 June 2016, academies. hypotheses.org/1482. Spring, Justin. Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art. Yale University Press, 2000. “Transcendental Painting Group Statement of Purpose, 1938?, Agnes Pelton Papers, 1885-1989.” Agnes Pelton Papers, 1885-1989 | Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, www.aaa.si. edu/collections/items/detail/transcendental-painting-group-statement-purpose-17590. The author would like to thank Mark Hatfield for his scholarship and support in the research for this essay. | 84 |
DIALOG: LANDSCAPE & ABSTRACTION | FREYA GRAND & THE PERMANENT COLLECTION OF THE ART MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAS JANUARY 23 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; APRIL 26, 2020