Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Joan Mitchell at Hauser & Wirth

Joan Mitchell at Hauser & Wirth

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Joan Mitchell.

LONDON, ENGLAND.-Hauser & Wirth is delighted to present the first solo exhibition of Joan Mitchell ever to be shown in the UK. Mitchell is widely recognized as one of the pre-eminent painters of the Abstract Expressionist episode of American art. She came to critical attention in the early 1950s but it is only recently that her work has fully gained the recognition that it deserves.

Between 1960 and 1964 she produced work of peculiar darkness and intensity. Painted during a difficult time in the artist's life soon after her move from New York to Paris, the works of this period reveal a distinct shift in sensibility. In these paintings Mitchell rejected the all-over style and bright colors of her earlier compositions in favor of sombre hues and dense central masses of pigment expressive of something startling and primordial. Rhythm and vibrancy were displaced for inchoate matter. There is an astonishing physicality to these works. Paint has been flung and squeezed onto the canvases, smeared on by Mitchell's fingers, and spilt and spluttered across their surfaces to create sculptural and tempestuous terrains that attest a vital reckoning with the world.

Joan Mitchell (1925 - 1992) came to attention in the early 1950s when still in her twenties, exhibiting at the Stable Gallery in New York alongside Joseph Cornell and Robert Rauschenberg. She traveled to France in the summer of 1955 and settled in Paris permanently after 1959 after beginning an affair with the French Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle. There have been numerous gallery and museum exhibitions of Joan Mitchell's work including two major shows at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1974 and 2002, which toured across the United States. Her paintings can be seen in museums worldwide.

Joan Mitchell, Leaving America is presented in co-operation with The Joan Mitchell Foundation and Cheim & Read, New York. A catalogue published by STEIDL Hauser & Wirth will accompany the exhibition. Joan Mitchell, Leaving America: New York to Paris 1958 - 1964 features twenty color plates and a comprehensive essay on the artist by Helen Molesworth.

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