SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (November 19, 2019) – The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College presents Mary Weatherford: Canyon–Daisy–Eden from February 1 through July 12, 2020, a survey of the acclaimed artist’s career that draws from several distinct bodies of work made between 1989 and 2017.
Over the last three decades, Mary Weatherford has developed a rich and diverse painting practice, from her early 1990s target paintings based on operatic heroines, to the expansive, gestural canvases overlaid with neon glass-tubing that brought attention to Weatherford’s practice in the 2010s. As constant experiments with color, scale, and materials, the works in the exhibition reveal the continuity of Weatherford’s preoccupation with memory and experience, both personal and historical.
The exhibition continues the Tang’s tradition of showcasing career-spanning surveys of important women artists. Recent exhibitions have introduced to new generations and audiences the work by influential artists such as Ree Morton, Dona Nelson, Alma Thomas, Corita Kent, and Nancy Grossman.
Originally from Ojai, California, Weatherford earned a B.A. in art history and visual arts from Princeton University, and an M.F.A from the Milton Avery School of Fine Arts at Bard College. In 1985, she participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program where she developed her earliest paintings, some of which include colored targets and silkscreened images of flowers, vines, and female figures titled after literary heroines. A profound and longstanding study of nature is reflected in other works from the late 1990s and early 2000s. Weatherford incorporated elements of assemblage into a series of stained canvases, including physical shells, sponges, and starfish. In 2005, Weatherford embarked upon a pivotal series of paintings based on plein-air drawings she made of a sea cave on Pismo Beach, a coastal area a few hours north of Los Angeles.
Her 2012 Bakersfield Project was the first series of paintings to incorporate neon tubing and revealed a new way of making that occupies the artist to this day. The works reflect Weatherford’s previous engagement with gestural forms and immersive scale and are drawn from memory using a variety of techniques and artistic references. The colors and textures of the works indicate shifting lights, atmosphere, and mood, often evoking a specific time, locale, and temperature, such as Greek seafood restaurant murals and liquor store neon signs seen while driving at dusk in Bakersfield, California.
A career-spanning catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibition and will include an introductory essay by co-curator Bill Arning, an interview with the artist by co-curator Ian Berry, and writings by Elissa Auther, Nick Debs, Arnold Kemp, Rebecca Morris, Michael St. John, Margaret Weatherford, and others.
Mary Weatherford: Canyon–Daisy–Eden is presented by the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. The exhibition is organized by guest curator Bill Arning and Tang Teaching Museum Dayton Director Ian Berry in collaboration with the artist. The exhibition will travel to SITE Sante Fe in New Mexico and be on view from October 16, 2020, through February 8, 2021.
The Tang Teaching Museum is a pioneer of interdisciplinary exploration and learning. A cultural anchor of New York’s Capital Region, the Tang’s approach has become a model for university art museums across the country—with exhibition programs that bring together visual and performing arts with interdisciplinary ideas from history, economics, biology, dance, and physics to name just a few. The Tang has one of the most rigorous faculty-engagement initiatives in the nation, and a robust publication and touring exhibition program that extends the museum’s reach far beyond its walls. The Tang Teaching Museum’s award-winning building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, serves as a visual metaphor for the convergence of art and ideas. Admission to the museum is free (donation suggested). Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. http://tang.skidmore.edu.
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