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Indepth Arts News:

"Robert Arneson: From the 60s"
2008-02-14 until 2008-03-29
Brian Gross Fine Art
San Francisco, CA, USA United States of America

Brian Gross Fine Art is pleased to announce the opening of Robert Arneson: from the 60's, on Thursday, February 14, 2008. This exhibition will feature over 20 works made during Arneson's formative years in the 1960's and examines early figurative and abstract expressionistic works, explorations in porcelain and bronze, conceptual works, painting, and his transformation of every day objects with the humor and irreverence that became his hallmark. The exhibition will be on view through March 29.

Diet Cola and Flower Pot are quintessential examples of Arneson's use of the ordinary objects that he embraced as expressive devices. Unlike the cool aesthetic of work by Pop artists such as Johns and Warhol, Arneson's objects are formally expressionistic with rough-hewn textures and colorful glazes. Objects such as bottles, bricks, teapots, toasters and typewriters that populate the subject matter of these works are the beginning of his exploration of social and personal concerns and were at odds with the formalist tradition more often seen during the post-war era. Works like Scale, Molded Salad, Finger Brick and John Figure on display have a provocative quality that became an integral part of Arneson's oeuvre.

She-Horse with Daughter, a rare early work from 1961 just over two feet tall, is a blend of figurative elements, sexuality and playfulness. Here, abstract expressionist overtones mix with a weighty, free-form sensibility. Wall Plaque and Coil similarly harken from this period with painterly textures and glazes, emphasizing rich surfaces and ambiguous biomorphic forms.

Also included are works from the Alice Street series, an important theme for Arneson inspired by his experience living in a ranch house in Davis, California in the 1960's. The Alice Street house became a personal and symbolic icon of suburban life, and is exemplified by House Box and Alice Street Plate. Additionally, works like SMITE -- Poorly Restored, Portrait of the Artist Sidestepping the Issue, and 2 Running Feet from an Unnecessary Race reflect the conceptual side of Arneson, evoking visual puns and word play.

Robert Arneson was born in Benicia, Calfornia in 1930. He received an MFA in 1958 from Mills College in Oakland. A professor of art at the University of California at Davis for 29 years, he retired in 1991, and died in 1992.

Arneson's museum exhibitions include Visual Politics: The Art of Engagement, San Jose Museum of Art, California, 2006; Arneson and the Object, Palmer Museum of Art, The Pennsylvania State University, 2004; Big Idea: The Maquettes of Robert Arneson, Palo Alto Art Center, California, 2002; Robert Arneson: Self-Reflections, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1997; Arneson and Politics: A Commemorative Exhibition, M.H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, 1993; Robert Arneson: A Retrospective, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, 1986; and Robert Arneson, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, 1974. His work can be found in major museums nationally and internationally, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Los Angeles County Museum, California; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, Japan, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.

Robert Arneson
SMITE - Poorly Restored, 1968
Glazed ceramic
15-1/2 x 19-1/2 x 6-1/3 inches

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