David Kordansky Gallery is proud to participate in Art Los Angeles Contemporary 2018 with a solo presentation by Betty Woodman (1930-2018), whose recent passing is being mourned by admirers from every corner of the worlds of art and culture. Planned with the artist prior to her death, the presentation focuses on wall-based work and will highlight three recent major paintings featuring ceramic elements, as well as a selection of works on paper being exhibited for the first time. Woodman is recognized as one of the most important voices in postwar American art, having synthesized sculpture, painting, and ceramics in a highly original and immediately recognizable formal vocabulary. Her embodied readings of a diversity of ancient and modern art historical traditions, as well as her fearless pursuits of visual pleasure, posited her as a boldly contemporary figure whose work proves equally revelatory in discussions about aesthetics, gender, modernism, craft, architecture, and domesticity.
Woodman pursued an increasingly radical path over her last decade, creating wall-based works in which she combined painted canvas, glazed ceramic forms (including both two- and three-dimensional objects), and sculptural wood supports. The newest of these, Be all the more consoled by what you see (2017), will provide the centerpiece of the gallery's presentation at ALAC. Shard-like ceramic fragments radiate out from a vessel-form placed on a wooden shelf, itself installed on a brightly painted canvas that depicts a fractured interior scene. The fragments, glazed a brilliant white, flow across the canvas in chromatic and material contrast; but they also flow beyond the canvas's edges, with those affixed directly to the wall instead glazed in a wide range of colors and linear motifs. The result is a complex play of positive and negative space over the span of the composition. In its entirety, Be all the more consoled by what you see reads as a wildly inventive visual essay on the nature of sculptural relief. The imagery within the traditionally delimited, rectilinear "window" of a painting leaps out into the actual physical world, coming alive with color and texture as it interacts with the surrounding architecture.
Also on view will be a selection of recent works on paper. Woodman used a variety of mediums and techniques to produce renderings that informed-- and, in many cases, expanded upon--the compositional vocabulary that appears in her paintings and sculptures. These included paint, pencil, and wax, but also collage and clay. If using clay as a drawing medium establishes a clear through-line to Woodman's long-standing and revolutionary involvement with ceramics, it also demonstrates that medium's inherent flexibility and foundational presence in human culture. Similarly, her pictures of domestic spaces awaken the viewer to the aesthetic pleasures and possibilities that animate our everyday environments. Basilio, Badillo (2012), for instance, is a five-foot-wide panorama that stretches across two pieces of handmade paper. The multi- faceted interior that Woodman portrays serves as a stage on which images of pots perform as curious dramatis personae. Vessels, like all human artifacts, carry more than what we put inside them--they bear with them the very spirits and longings of their makers.
David Kordansky Gallery will present a 60-year retrospective of Woodman's work across both of its spaces from July 21 to August 25, 2018. Accompanied by a catalogue, the show will include many rarely seen early objects and provide a comprehensive reexamination of the artist's evolution and ongoing influence.
Woodman will also be the subject of a solo exhibition at K11, Shanghai in March 2018. Other recent solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2016); Museo Marino Marini, Florence (2015); Gardiner Museum, Toronto (2011); American Academy in Rome (2010); Palazzo Pitti, Giardino di Boboli, Florence (2009); Denver Art Museum (2006); and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2006). Her work has also recently been featured in group exhibitions including the Liverpool Biennial (2016); Playing House, Brooklyn Museum (2012); Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970- 1990, Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2011); Sèvres, Porcelaines Contemporaines, Menshikov Palace, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (2010); and Dirt on Delight: Impulses that Form Clay, Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2009). Woodman's artworks are featured in over fifty public collections worldwide, including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.