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Indepth Arts News:

1999-09-10 until 1999-10-17
Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery
Keene, NH, USA United States of America

Showing concurrently with Jules Olitski: Monoprints, 1994-1999 will be You Never Know: Recent Accessions and other Selections, an exhibition of recent donations and other art in The Thornes permanent collection including a series of color lithographs by Dutch artist Corneille, works by 19th-century artists who flourished around Mount Monadnock, and contemporary artists such as photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The images in this exhibition will change over the course of the semester. The Olitski lecture, reception, and both exhibits are free and open to the public. For information, call the gallery at 603-358-2720.

Olitski, 77, made his mark in the art world in the 1960s, and was heralded as the best living abstract painter by formalist critic Clement Greenberg. He had his first solo exhibition in 1967 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and in 1969 was the first living artist ever to have a solo sculpture exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Considered a color-field painter, Olitski produces works that are freer and less severe than many artists associated with the 1960s abstraction movement. He has experimented with various media during his long career and introduced the use of the industrial spray gun to apply thick layers of paint to large canvases.

During the 1990s, Olitski started painting landscapes inspired by sunrises and sunsets at his summer home on New Hampshires Lake Winnepesaukee and his winter haven in the Florida Keys. When 40 such works were exhibited in 1996 at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, New Yorker magazine writer Dodie Kazanjian considered Olitskis landscapes more abstract than not and so gorgeous that they risk critical scoldings.

Similar landscapes are captured in the 40 monoprints painstakingly created by Olitski on metal plates fed through a press at the Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford. Since 1994, Olitski has spent two weeks each year at the Connecticut school creating prints on a Dufa #4 German off-set press, one of four such newspaper presses still operating in the United States.

Olitski paints directly on a single plate that picks up paint, places it on the press rollers, and then transfers the image to paper, explains artist assistant Kim Colligan, who works with Olitski at a family studio in Jacksonville, Vt. Although the monoprints are in color, Olitski uses only a single plate rather than four separate plates used in the 4-color printing process. This makes each monoprint unique allowing for about five or six similar looking prints to be made from the same plate.

It usually takes a day for Olitski to create one monoprint, so during the last five years he has produced around 70 works during his bi-weekly stays at the Hartford Art School. The 40 works in the Thorne exhibit were chosen by Director Maureen Ahern based on size, color, and variation in landscapes.

I tried to choose five or six from each of the years hes worked at the school to give a balanced overview of his work, explains Ahern. I also looked for things that were different from the work in the 96 exhibit, for example, hes added figures to his landscapes.

The gallery is open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday through Wednesday, and noon to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday. The gallery is open only when Keene State College is in session. Located on Wyman Way, the gallery is accessible to people with disabilities. For information, call 603-358-2720.

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