F R O M R
T H E S
WENDY ARTIN F Ro m
GuRARI coLLEcTIoNS BoSToN
These paintings are dedicated to my wonderful husband Bruno.
BEING IN TIME For the past several years, Wendy Artin and I have intermittently returned to a conversation we began while I was living in Rome. When I was first there, I felt paralyzed as a writer by what felt to me an injunction to repeat the great themes that have for so many centuries characterized an artist’s view of that monumental city. Artin’s work fascinated me because for her, the city’s familiar ruins and statues were anything but calcified; her paintings elucidate the way that time has shaped the objects she depicts, of course, but also, in her watery medium, stone re-enters the play of time. We began talking about nostalgia, that desire to return to the beloved, and about what each iteration of such a reencounter might bring anew. It was through our ongoing conversation that I began to think about the value of art as a trace, as the imprint of a hand or mind moving with or through its medium, constrained, as we all always are, by time. Whether painting classical subjects, her models, or fruits brought in from the market, Artin is absolutely committed to the present moment, which is both an ethics and, I think, an erotics. The immediacy of her art does not preclude loss — instead, since her painting is always of that which has been, one might say that it is imbued with it — but it does offer the fact of our being-in-time as an absolute, though fleeting, consolation. Indeed, one of the great tensions in Artin’s work is the play of time: watercolor is the most temporally-bound form of painting, yet of course the work of art also endures past the moment of its composition, to be experienced time and again. The first thing to say about Artin’s paintings is how incredibly beautiful they are, how gestural and sensuous, how alive. And yet theirs is a paradoxical presence, since so many of her figures are penetrated by absence — this is one way of understanding the effect of the highlights, rendered by leaving the paper untouched, which frequently merge with the unpainted background. The bareness of both highlight and background is identical, and yet the first signifies presence, the second absence. The viewer is drawn into the process of making as she or he chooses where to read form, where negative space; our desire completes the dance begun by the brush and its liquid medium. And we are mesmerized, too, into the deep abstraction of Artin’s marks, which fall repeatedly out of their representational function. The effect is one of a pervasive light and energy that maps neither onto the subject portrayed nor onto the artist behind the brush, but onto the medium itself. There are starbursts where the paint has backrun, and halos around the bodies where it has bled, which are incredibly moving to me, and remind me of what Virginia Woolf writes in To the Lighthouse: “Our apparitions, the things you know us by, are simply childish. Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by.” Artin’s work shows both the ghostly “apparitions” we recognize as form and the “dark, … spreading, … unfathomably deep” substance from which they emerge, and to which they return.
There are three main series — of paintbrushes, nudes, and sculptures — in this show of Artin’s new work at Gurari Collections. In the nudes and in the paintings of classical sculptures, Artin shows opposing sides of the same coin; but as she turns it around and around, the two sides begin to merge. Artin transforms in the alchemy of her eye one form of being into another, enacting a metamorphosis no less startling than those Ovid describes. Her work brings both the living model and the sculptures from antiquity into a paradoxical and fascinating space: in the living medium of watercolor, they are no longer flesh or stone, living or dead — those easy antinomies — but rather enter the mysterious space of representation, in which the particular is abstracted and the abstract is made once again particular. The uncanniness of Artin’s work stems in part from the vivacity of these forms — the sculptural fragments are eerily enlivened, just as the living models are transformed from flesh into painterly marks, which eventually begin to “come to life” — this is Artin’s way of describing the moment when the illusion of three-dimensionality begins. “I would almost leave the drawing at that first moment,” Artin writes. Indeed, the brilliance of many of these paintings is their ability to keep figuration at bay, to preserve the traces of mark-making that insure that these paintings’ subject is the ceaseless and endlessly fascinating drama of becoming. What we read in these paintings is, then, something like the history of their own making. Perhaps an equally interesting comparison might be made between the new series of paintbrushes and Artin’s vast oeuvre depicting the ruins and fragments of antiquity, as well as the urban walls of New York, Paris, and Rome she used to paint. For they are, after all, all visions of the palimpsest. The older paintings archive the long history of the city, accessing the shared language of public life, while the paintbrushes chronicle a private world. Though seemingly inanimate and impersonal, the painted brushes archive the drive toward creation and beauty that gave shape to her family’s life together in Rome. These brushes, squat and stained with wall paint, stand in contrast to the watercolor brushes that rendered them; and like the fragmentary texts read in a palimpsest, they point only in incomplete ways to the stories of which they are a part. And yet they survive, as talismanic objects that carry their maker backwards into memory, and forward, once again, into art. Jessica Fisher Rome Prize Fellow in Literature 2012 Williams College Department of English October 2015
Universal and Intimate Years ago, traveling near and far, it was always a relief to lighten up, to carry the key that locked the door to the room that held my worldly possessions, as I left to paint for the day, with my small watercolor box and brushes, my paper, my hat. Each of the paintings in this show is like a key that opens the door to vast chambers of memories, of moments, real and imagined. They are like a whispered cue on stage, like the name of a favorite family story, like a book whose adventure is everyoneâ€™s to invent. Can the drops of paint on my paintbrushes tell you about my treasured moments? Despite my doubts, maybe they can â€“ maybe they can tell of the starry intense blue skies around my childrenâ€™s beds, of the gigantic green cardboard Christmas tree that is rolled up every year with its paper chains of mermaids and pirate ships. Maybe a flight of fancy will dream up other adventures for them, cast colorfully as watercolor brushes, or painting gigantic oceans full of fish. Or maybe my nostalgic relics will simply display themselves in their glorious present, heroes of age, the keys that unlock your own dear memories. My statues are your statues, his statues, her statues. Quietly, they encourage us to look closer and longer, until we have lost ourselves in the tiny chips and stains, in their solid strength. Sometimes my models surprise me by telling me what they were thinking about during the hours of our life drawing sessions, or the farmer at the market stares as I tenderly select the beets he has hastily bundled together. Then the vastly different realities come together and there is a glorious birth, or a simple picture.
Wendy Artin October 2015
EXHIBITIONS 2015 From the Roman Studio, Gurari Collections, Boston, (catalog) Rocks, Paper, Memory, Kelsey Museum, Ann Arbor, (catalog) 2013 Stone from Delphi, Gurari Collections, Boston, Massachusetts Stone from Delphi, American Academy in Rome, Italy, 2012 Stone from Delphi, Arion Press, San Francisco, (limited edition book) 2011 The Parthenon Frieze, Gurari Collections, Boston, (catalog) 2009 Hadrien, Galerie du Passage, Paris, France (catalog) Columnae, Gurari Collections, Boston, (text) 2007 Esprit de Corps, Gurari Collections, Boston, (catalog) 2005 Toys, Galerie du Passage, Paris, France (catalog) Foro Italico, Gurari Collections, Boston, Massachusetts, (catalog) 2003 Femmine, Gurari Collections, Boston, Massachusetts, (catalog) Wendy Artin, Saint-Gaudens National Gallery, New Hampshire 2002 Roma Antica, Gurari Collections, Boston, Massachusetts, (catalog) 2001 Fontaines et Fontanelles, Galerie du Passage, Paris, France (catalog) Figures, Gurari Collections, Boston, Massachusetts, (catalog) 2000 Aphrodite, Gurari Collections, Boston, Massachusetts, (catalog) 1999 Rome, Carnet de Voyage, Claudia Carr Gallery, New York City Recent Paintings by Wendy Artin, Kantar Fine Arts Boston, 1998 Dessins Romains, Galerie du Passage, Paris, France Wendy Artin, Acquerelli, Galleria Carlo Virgilio, Roma, Italia 1997 Atelier, Galerie du Passage, Paris, France Outis, Palazzo dell’Arte, Triennale di Milano, Italia 1996 Rome, Carnet de Voyage, Galerie du Passage, Paris, France Wendy Artin In Art, Wiggin Gallery of the Boston Public Library 1993 Art In Walls, Synchronicity Space, New York, New York SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS 2010 Nine By Six, Gurari Collections, Boston, Massachusetts Sulle Orme di Caravaggio, Galleria Don Chisciotte, Rome, Italy 20 ans! D’Expositions, Galerie du Passage, Paris, France 2009 Amour, Galleria Palatino, Rome, Italy 2006 La Serenissima, Remak Ramsay, Century Association, New York 2004 Galerie du Passage, Paris, France Kantar Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts 1999 European Landscapes, New England Painters, G.Watson Gallery, Maine 1998 Prix International d’Art Contemporain, Monte Carlo, Monaco 1997 Galerie Jaquester, Paris, France East West Gallery, London, England 1995 Fiera di Milano, Milano, Italia Creiger Dane Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts 1994 Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France EDUCATION M.F.A Painting, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1990 B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Fine Arts and French Literature, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 1984 École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1982-3, 1984-5
BIBLIOGRAPHY Rocks, Paper, Memory, dialogue between Christopher Ratté and Wendy Artin, Kelsey Museum catalog, 2015 Wendy Artin Stone from Delphi, Art in Print,Volume 2, Number 5, 2013 Watercolors That Mirror Historic Marble Frieze, Cate McQuaid, the Boston Globe, November 16, 2011 Wendy Artin -- Translating Marble Onto Paper, Grace Dane Mazur, the Arts Fuse, November 2011 Liquid On Stone, Franklin Eispruch, New York Sun, November 16, 2011 The Parthenon Friezes, text by Alexander Purves, October 2011 North Frieze Block XLVIII, Figures 118-20, Karl Kirchwey, October 2011 Wendy Artin et le Frise du Parthénon, Laurent Benoist, l’Art de l’Aquarelle Nº 7, December-March 2011 Painting the Fluid Figure in Watercolor, Bob Bahr, American Artist Watercolor Magazine, Winter 2011 Figure Drawing, Nathan Goldstein, Pearson Publishing 2011 Wendy Artin, la Poésie des Ruines, Laurent Benoist, l’Art de l’Aquarelle Nº 3, January-March 2010, December/February 2011 Columnae, Wendy Artin, text by Alec Purves, Gurari Collections 2009 Hadrien, Wendy Artin, text by Alec Purves, Galerie du Passage 2009 Esprit de Corps, Wendy Artin, Amy Fine Collins, Gurari Collections 2007 Emergence of Tonal Drawing, Ephraim Rubenstein, American Artist 2006 Le corps jailli des ombres, Alexandra Bourré, photos Stéphane Grangier, Pratique des Arts Hors-Série Nu Féminin Nº 8 2006 Still Life with Flavor, Joshua David, Gourmet Rome Edition, March 2003 Femmine, Wendy Artin, texts by Laura Riccioli, Tamara Bartolini, 2003 Wendy Artin, Noemi Giszpenc, ArtsMedia, November 2002 Wendy Artin, Arts and Minds, documentary film by Julie Kucaj, Bravo Television, Canada 2002 Dessins et Aquarelles 1994-2001, Wendy Artin, catalogue with texts by Pierre-Jean Rémy, April Gornik and Eric Fischl, 2001 Figures, Wendy Artin, texts by April Gornik and Eric Fischl, 2001 Artin Craft, An American Artist in Rome, Amy Fine Collins,Vanity Fair, September 2001 Cosi, Come un’artista, Gabriella Cherubini, Grazia, December 2001 Aphrodite,Wendy Artin, catalogue with texts by Adele Chatfield-Taylor, Richard Leacock,Valerie Lalonde. Gurari Collections 2000 Roman Fever, Cate McQuaid, Boston Globe, October 6, 2000 Rome Rises on Charles St. /Aphrodite Smiles, Charles M. Long, Beacon Hill Back Bay Chronicle, October 11, 2000 Pintar La Vida, contar la Historia, Urbano Hidalgo, Joyce, October 2000 Wendy Artin, un regard d’aquarelle, Misha de Potestad, Elle Decoration, Oct 1999 Wendy Artin, escapades sur papier, Milu Cachat, Cote Sud, Oct-Nov 1998 Looking for Artin Walls, Heidi Mae Bratt, New York Post Nov. 26, 1996 With Pencil, Brush and Charcoal: Works on Paper by Wendy Artin, Cate McQuaid Boston Globe, November 21, 1996 In Art,Wendy Artin, Boston Public Library 1996
Catalogue Cover: Paintbrushes, 2014, see 21, 20, 17 below Preface by Jessica Fisher: Being in Time
2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19.
Laura holding one ankle, 2011, watercolor on Rives BFK paper, 25 x 38 cm Laura, three quick torsos in sunlight, 2014, watercolor on Fabriano Ingres paper, 35 x 50 cm Giuseppe here and there, 2014, watercolor on Fabriano Ingres paper, 28 x 31 cm Giuseppe, sorrow, 2014, watercolor on Rives BFK paper, 36 x 23 cm Marzia Mime, 2011, watercolor on Fabriano Ingres paper, 35 x 31 cm Laura, three times, 2011, watercolor on Fabriano Ingres paper, 35 x 33 cm Aurora Rhodes, 2015, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 38” x 24” Aurora on side, 2015, watercolor on Rives BFK paper, 17 x 35 cm Laura on side, 2012, watercolor on Rives BFK paper, 26 x 38 cm Andrea rising, 2013, watercolor on Fabriano Ingres paper, 20 x 19 cm Andrea standing, 2014, watercolor on Fabriano Ingres paper, 30 x 16 cm Andrea twice, 2013, watercolor on Fabriano Ingres paper, 26 x 40 cm Laura Magnani, 2015, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 40” x 26” Laura leaning, 2015, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 40” x 26” 1 1/2” brown brush, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 29 x 19 cm Single red brush with pink bristles, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 29 x 19 cm Blue brush, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 29 x 19 cm Oil brush, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 26 x 18 cm Oil brush on red, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 26 x 18 cm
22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37.
Green bristle brush on blue, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 26 x 18 cm Red handled brush on blue, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 26 x 18 cm Orchids, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 20 x 14 cm Orchids, 2013, watercolor on Rives BFK paper, 7” x 5” Floating clementine, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 18 x 26 cm Half pear, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 26 x 18 cm High School Beets, 2015, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 26 x 18 cm Nike adjusting her sandal, 2014, watercolor on Khadi paper, 103 x 63 cm Egyptian Antoninoüs, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 29 x 19 cm Relief from Pergamon Museum, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 22 x 14 cm Belvedere Torso #1, 2015, watercolor on Khadi paper, 76 x 53 cm Belvedere Torso #2, 2015, watercolor on Khadi paper, 76 x 52 cm Belvedere Torso #3, 2015, watercolor on Khadi paper, 76 x 49 cm Gradiva, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 29 x 19 cm Athenian Nereid, 2015, watercolor on Khadi paper, 40” x 28” Aphrodite, 2014, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 26 x 18 cm Brush on Blue, 2015, watercolor on Arches rag paper, 19” x 13” Antonio splayed, 2015, watercolor on Rives BFK paper, 22 x 26 cm
Afterword by the artist: Universal and Intimate Photo of Wendy Artin in the Roman Studio, 2015 Back: Laura Magnani and Laura leaning 2015, see 13 & 14
Wendy Artin with a painting of the Trevi Fountain in her Roman Studio, 2015 Thank you to all of my dear friends, and to the many wonderful people whose appreciation and enthusiasm for my paintings has supported me and my family, in our Roman Studio, beneath the oasis-like American Academy and the dazzling Villa Doria Pamphilj. A particular thank you to Russ Gerard and to Jessica Fisher. And most of all, thank you to my very precious and very amazing family.
All rights reserved ÂŠ Wendy Artin 2015 www.wendyartin.com GURARI COLLECTIONS, BOSTON
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Published on Jan 8, 2017
Exhibition catalogue published by Gurari Collections in Boston, for the November 2015 show "From the Roman Studio, watercolor paintings by W...