Support • Foundation • Comfort

Hannah Wilke

Dec 01 – Dec 29, 1984

Hannah Wilke

Hannah Wilke Venus Pareve, 1982-84

Description


Hannah Wilke's exhibition at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts combines two separate but related aspects of her art. Polychrome ceramic sculpture, ranging from tabletop and pedestal pieces to major floor pieces, merge painting and sculpture in unprecedented ways. Photographs portraying the artist's mother during the last years of her life are also keys to the moral, teleological and generative principals that have informed Wilke's art for more than 25 years.

The painted sculptural works are three-dimensional forms on two-dimensional grounds, literally sculptures on paintings. They are neither additive nor subtractive in the tradition of modeled or constructed sculpture, but are physical manipulations of a constant in mass and motion. Based on a fundamental but infinitely variable language of geometry, number, size and relationship, they transform mathematical order into organic presence, molecular or cellular structure into aesthetic structure. Two-dimensional circles become gestural bodies; polygonal bases become ostensible spatial limits. Each is enfolded and superceded by the other. They are images and symbols of genesis, extensions of a life force that is the artist's action.

Color, which had always been singular and inherent in Wilke's sculptural materials, is now a property of painting, a gestural property that both contrasts and integrates form and field. The monumental floor pieces are like landscapes, paying homage to the extraordinary integrity and formal beauty, continuity and unpredictability of nature. The portraits of Selma Butter, the artist's mother, are homages to the same qualities in human life. Each picture is part of a sequence and yet totally integrated in itself. In the triptych, IN MEMORIAM, SELMA BUTTER (MOMMY), combining sculpture and painting with language and photographs, Wilke makes an art that is not subordinated but is created in the service of life.

In the past year, Hannah Wilke's work has been shown in several exhibitions in the United States and Europe. A significant group of works, stressing the political aspects of her art was selected by Lowery Sims, Associate Curator of 20th Century Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for the New Museum's exhibition, "Art and Ideology." A one-person exhibition called "Performalist Self-Portraits" was recently presented at the Gross Gallery of the University of Arizona in Tuscon, curated by art historian Joanna Frueh. Wilke's work is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Allen Art Museum of Oberlin University, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and many other public and private art collections. Part of the work in this exhibition was made possible by a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship awarded to Wilke for 1982-83.

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Hannah Wilke

So Help Me Hannah Series: Portrait of the Artist with her Mother, Selma Butter, 1978-81

Hannah Wilke

So Help Me Hannah Series: Portrait of the Artist with her Mother, Selma Butter, 1978-81

Hannah Wilke

Support Foundation, 1983

Hannah Wilke

Generation Process Series 6, 1982

Hannah Wilke

Generation Process Series 5, 1982

Hannah Wilke

Generation Process Series 10, 1982

Hannah Wilke

In memoriam - Selma Butter (Mommy), 1979-83

detail

Hannah Wilke

In memoriam - Selma Butter (Mommy), 1979-83

detail

Hannah Wilke

In memoriam - Selma Butter (Mommy), 1979-83

detail

Hannah Wilke

Venus Pareve, 1982-84

group

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Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

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Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

Support/Foundation/Comfort, 1984

installation view

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