Lenore Tawney

Lenore Tawney, Easter Breakfast, 1982. Courtesy: The Lenore Tawney Foundation, New York, and Alison Jacques Gallery, London

Unveiling a selection of her works on paper as well as her sculptural, fibre-based installations, this will be the debut exhibiting of Tawney’s multifaceted practice with the gallery, announcing our worldwide representation of the Lenore Tawney Foundation.

Widely recognised as one of the most significant innovators in weaving practice, Tawney’s works collapsed distinctions between art and craft in the post-war era. Her meditative, process-oriented and visionary approach to materials challenged and expanded the conceptual boundaries of sculpture. Her open-warp linen weavings and fibre hangings merge the past and present; taking influence from ancient American Indian techniques and Far Eastern philosophies, but also modern, industrial processes.

Most recently, Tate Modern have acquired a selection of her works, including works on paper, and woven sculptures, which can be viewed in the display Beyond Craft, curated by Ann Coxon. Tawney’s weavings and assemblages have also been exhibited in a retrospective presented at the American Museum of Arts and Design (formerly American Craft Museum), Art Institute of Chicago, and the Smithsonian Institution (1990-91), and they are represented in the collections of the Menil Collection; Museum of Modern Art, and Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.

Lenore Tawney studied at the Institute of Design, Chicago (1946-1947) under the tutelage of the Hungarian Bauhaus photographer László Moholy-Nagy and the Ukrainian sculptor, Alexander Archipenko. She later studied tapestry alongside Martta Taipale and upon moving to New York, mixed in the same circles as Agnes Martin, whose enigmatic drawings have often been likened to Tawney’s woven sculptures and assemblages, through reference to the grid structure and influences from Eastern philosophy.