'Areol' by Nancy Graves, 1978 Oil and encaustic on canvas, 64 x 88 inches
The Gallery at R&F, in cooperation with the Nancy Graves Foundation and Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe, New York, is proud to present an exhibition of little-known encaustic and mixed media works by the late painter and sculptor, Nancy Graves. The show will run from October 2nd through November 20th, 2010, with an opening reception on Saturday, October 9th, from 5 – 7 pm. Linda Konheim Kramer, Executive Director of the Nancy Graves Foundation, will speak at the opening.
Nancy Graves’s personal aesthetic emerged in the later 1960s in the form of realistic life-size sculptures of camels. These works were rooted in her childhood memories of the animals preserved by taxidermists in the Natural History section of the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and in the idioms of Abstract Expressionism taught at the Yale University School of Art where she was a student in the early 1960s. The interplay between the replication of nature and the formal values of abstract art was to inform her work throughout her life.
In 1972 Graves took a break from sculpture and turned to painting. Between 1977 and 1984, she created nineteen encaustic and mixed media paintings, seven of which are featured in this exhibition, the first to focus exclusively on Graves’s use of encaustic. In her unpublished ‘Notes on Paintings’ of 1978, the artist gives a technical description that mentions encaustic as but one of several methods used to help her achieve a “depth of field through layering”, where the process could be understood as the meaning of the work. This series of vibrant works is a testament to Graves’ abiding interests in natural phenomena, geology, archaeology and cartography. Their aerial perspective suggests mysterious, colorful maps of imagined territories, which strongly relates to a series of prints that the artist completed in the early 1980’s.
'Equivalent' by Nancy Graves. 1978, Oil and Encaustic on canvas, 64 x 100 inches
Nancy Graves was born in Pittsfield, MA in 1939. While studying English literature at Vassar College, she received a fellowship in painting to the Yale-Norfolk Summer School. From 1961 to 1964 she studied fine art at Yale University, New Haven, CT, and in 1964 received a Fulbright-Hayes grant in painting to study in Paris. In 1966 she moved to New York and established a studio. Her first solo exhibition was in 1968 at the Graham Gallery, and the following year she became the first woman artist to have a solo retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 1985 she received the Yale Arts Award and in 1986 Vassar acknowledged her accomplishments with an exhibition and the Vassar College Distinguished Visitor Award. Solo exhibitions of her work appeared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Buffalo, New York; Cleveland, Ohio; Fort Worth, Texas; and Aachen, Germany. In 1991 Graves married Avery Leete Smith, a veterinarian in Kingston, NY. Graves died of cancer in New York on October 21, 1995. The Nancy Graves Foundation was established in 1996 through a provision of the artist’s Last Will and Testament to give grants to individual artists and to maintain an archive of her life and work and organize exhibitions of her art.
Please join us at The Gallery at R&F for the opening reception for this impressive exhibition on Saturday, October 9th, from 5-7 pm, when Linda Konheim Kramer, Executive Director of the Nancy Graves Foundation will present a brief talk about the artist and her work.
On Saturday, November 6th, artist Cynthia Winika will present a special one-day workshop in conjunction with the exhibition for artists who have an interest in Graves’ use of Encaustic with Mixed Media.