Meeting Space

Larry Bell

1939, Chicago, Illinois
Lives in Taos, New Mexico, and Venice, California

Church Studies, 2014

Collage papers, Mylar, and laminate films coated with aluminum and silicon monoxide

The Light Knots are created from a single layer of Mylar film coated with thin films of metals and quartz. They get their mysterious charm from the way they gently move and interact with light. Bell considers them to be “improvisational, spontaneous, and intuitive three-dimensional drawings in space.”

For his two-dimensional Church collages, Bell coats a custom-made red paper with a reflective micro-thin film. The resulting iridescent surface flickers in changing light to give the work an ever-changing appearance. The title refers to his new studio in Venice, a light filled desacralized church.

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Sam Francis

1923, San Mateo, California
d. 1994, Santa Monica, California
  1. Trietto, I, 1991
  2. Trietto, II, 1991
  3. Trietto, III, 1991
  4. Trietto, IV, 1991
  5. Trietto, V, 1991

Aquatint on copper

Though he was a generation younger than Clyfford Still, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock, Sam Francis was the first American abstract expressionist to make a reputation overseas. After leaving the Army Air Force in 1944, he lived, worked, and exhibited in Paris, Bern, New York, and Tokyo.

Never easy to classify, Francis became best known for his splashy, abstract, energetic, light filled, joyous paintings. The title of this darker and more emotional painting alludes to the controversial French author Pierre Guyotat, who suffered a breakdown in the early 1980s. Made when Francis was losing his own battle against the poor health he suffered most of his life, the painting explodes with an intensity reminiscent of Clyfford Still, one of Francis's early mentors in San Francisco.

He is much admired for his very large paintings at the San Francisco International Airport.

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Luis Jimenez

1940, El Paso, Texas
2006, Hondo, New Mexico

Mustang, 1997

Color lithograph

Anyone driving to or from Denver International Airport will pass a gaudy fiberglass- and-steel sculpture of a huge, lone, bright blue, fiery-red-eyed, bucking horse named Mustang that was commissioned in 1992 by the city of Denver for its then-new airport.

Coming from blue-color roots and growing up in an El Paso barrio, the creator of that stunning work combined Mexican and European art traditions as he strove to create art for ordinary people, not just art aficionados. He achieved great acclaim doing just that, and his public sculptures installed across America have many devoted fans, including George W. Bush who invited him to dinner at the White House. True to form, Jiménez showed up in bright red cowboy boots.

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Vance Kirkland

1904, Convoy, Ohio
1981, Denver, Colorado

Enigma of Magnetic Forces, 1976

Oil paint and water on linen

Kirkland developed five painting styles during a career that culminated in his extraordinary so-called dot paintings. Writing in 1978, he argued that “Whenever a cycle of ideas seemed satisfactory, I knew I... needed to move on and develop a greater challenge. Then the paintings remained fresh.” His dot paintings, which portray the vibrant mystery of space as he imagined it, were created as he lay suspended by slings over a canvas laid out on a table. From this perch, Kirkland dipped a dowel in paint and, one by one, added hundreds of thousands of dots to create the finished work.

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Oliver Michaels

1972, London, England
Lives in Brooklyn, New York

Tube Balloon Thing, 2010

The idea of the “precious” art object is turned on it’s head as Oliver Michaels magically adds very untraditional art materials to a plain, rotating cardboard box, transforming it into a sculpture that seems to defy all rules an art school might have taught. Both videos in this collection are from the artist’s Split Screen Sculpture Series in which he creates kinetic sculptures by employing a split screen editing technique. Addressing space, material, humor, banality, illusion, and digitization Tube Balloon Thing and Revolution engage viewers by highlighting the extraordinariness of familiar everyday objects in a way that not only entertain the viewer, but might also make them ask..."Huh? How did he do that?"

Oliver Michaels has exhibited widely at venues including Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa Monica; P.S.1, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Cobra Museum of Modern Art, Amsterdam; Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris; and Tate Britain, London. His videos can be found in the permanent collections of institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Germany. Oliver Michaels has a BFA with honors from central Saint Martins.

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Thomas Ruff

1958, Zell am Harmersbach, Germany
Lives in Dusseldorf, Germany

Untitled, 2013

C-print diptych

A member of an influential group of European photographers including Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky, Ruff has long been admired for his large-scale color photographs featuring portraits, abstractions, constellations, and nudes.

In his recent photograms (a camera-less photographic process explored in black and white by Man Ray, László Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Bayer, and others in the early twentieth century), Ruff continues to expand the unconventional possibilities of photographic scale, color, and form. Working in a virtual darkroom created by custom-made software, Ruff produces huge works like this diptych, whose powerful aesthetic impact is magnified by its physical presence.

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Edward Rushca

1937, Omaha, Nebraska
Lives in Los Angeles, California

Still (For Clyford Still), 1986

Dry pigment and pastel on board

True to his mid-western roots, Ruscha claims Norman Rockwell as one of his major influences. Deciding to become a commercial illustrator himself, Ruscha left his home in Oklahoma and moved to Los Angeles in 1956. He soon gave up commercial illustration and for the past fifty-some-years created works that are about both art and language, and has earned international acclaim as one of America’s most admired artists.

Industrial Strength Sleep is based on Ruscha’s 1989 painting by the same name, which was, in turn, based on photographer Edward Weston’s study of clouds. This piece is on loan from Ed Ruscha.

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Mickalene Thomas

1971, Camden, New Jersey
Lives in New York City, New York

Untitled #5, 2014

Acrylic, oil paint, glitter, rhinestones, oil pastel, graphite on wood

Since receiving her MFA from Yale University in 2002, Thomas has earned great acclaim as an artist whose works explore ideas of feminism, beauty, and black female celebrity mined from art history, as well as her own experience.

Dressed in Thomas’s signature neon colors and sparkling materials, these themes take on the look of a Picasso-esque style gone awry in this work from her Tete de Femme series. Thomas has described how the series grew out of a game she and her friend and collaborator, makeup artist Vincent Oquendo, began playing while leafing through photos of models’ faces: she would make a mark on a photo, and he would erase hers and put on another, which she would erase to add one of her own, and so forth. Each portrait, though untitled, actually depicts an individual woman.

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Betty Woodman

1930, Norwalk, Connecticut
Lives in New York City and Antella, Italy
  1. Alessandro's Room, 2013
  2. Vases and Windows
  3. Vases and Windows

Color woodcut, lithograph with chine-callé collage

Longtime professor of ceramics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Betty Woodman continues to pursue a prolific career that has spanned six decades and helped expand the horizons of ceramic art and printmaking.

In 2006, Woodman became the first living woman artist to have a retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. She continues to receive honors and accolades, most recently the 2014 Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship from the American Craft Council.

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