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Indepth Arts News:

"A Body of Work: The Human Figure from Degas to Diebenkorn"
2005-07-29 until 2005-10-02
Columbia Museum of Art
Columbia, SC, USA

The Columbia Museum of Art presents rarely seen works from its permanent collection in a new exhibition titled A Body of Work: The Human Figure from Degas to Diebenkorn. Opening on Friday, July 29 and running through October 2, 2005, A Body of Work features approximately 70 artworks that showcase figural work created primarily in the 20th century, examining this genre’s relevance in the history of art. Sixty-five artists are included with works in a variety of media, from oil on canvas to watercolor, lithograph and etching on paper. Artists in the exhibition include Edgar Degas, Alfred Hutty, Marc Chagall, Larry Rivers, Paul Cadmus, Richard Hamilton, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Sid Rosenbloom, Henry Moore, Paula Rego, Milton Avery, David Hockney and Philip Pearlstein, among others.

“The human figure has been a significant genre throughout the history of art. To examine the human figure and the techniques and styles in its depiction throughout the 20th century is the motivation behind organizing A Body of Work: The Human Figure from Degas to Diebenkorn. By grouping work done in the first half of the century together and work done in the second half of the century together, the exhibition will attempt to draw parallels in the styles and compositions of the artists and their figural work of the 20th century,” says Beth Inman, museum curator.

With a combination of abstract and representational elements from all decades of the 20th century, A Body of Work strives to expand the general perceptions of figural artwork with juxtapositions like The Shepherd (c. 1930s) by Marc Chagall – a simple yet realistic rendering – to work done later in the century such as Study for Square Dancer (1987) by Helen Gilbert – an angular, non-representational composition. Both works depict the human figure, but in vastly contrasting styles.

“The Columbia Museum of Art has embarked on this important project to highlight some of the museum’s rarely seen artworks and to bring a fresh perspective to a long history of figural art,” says museum director, Karen Brosius. “This is the first time that an exhibition of this breadth has been organized from the museum’s permanent collection.”

Gerald Laing (American, born England, 1936)
Sandra from the Baby Baby Wild Things series, 1968
silkscreen, 87/200
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter Scotese

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