Spotlight

Mary Ann Unger

Davidson Gallery, New York (S9)

Mary Ann Unger, Untitled, 1978. Courtesy: Davidson Gallery, New York

Mary Ann Unger, Untitled, 1978. Courtesy: Davidson Gallery, New York

Davidson Gallery presents the vibrant and corporeal work of American artist Mary Ann Unger during her most prolific year– 1978 – when she made dozens of drawings that bridged the gap between her earlier geometric stages, and the sketches of sculptures that were soon-to-be realized, or never completed.

In conjunction with Frieze 2019, Davidson Gallery will present Fluid Line: 1968-83, at the gallery in Chelsea. Additionally, her Estate – housed in Unger’s former home and studio – will have on display the artist’s seminal late sculpture installation, Across the Bering Straits. These sites provide a broad view of an artist whose work still feels contemporary and relevant.

Mary Ann Unger (b. 1945, New York; d. 1998, New York) began her career in the 1960s in New York City. She received an MFA from Columbia, and had solo exhibitions throughout the 1980s and 1990s, until her death at age 53. Her work is in many major institutions in the US (recent acquisitions by the Whitney and Art Institute of Chicago), though she is far from a household name, having been cut down in the prime of her art career. Unger was most known for her sculpture; large-scale biomorphic works which appeared scarred and bandaged, dealing with the joy of motherhood coupled with the solemnity of the disease which eventually killed her. From critic Roberta Smith’s obituary for Unger in the New York Times: “Unger’s works occupied a territory defined by Eva Hesse and Louise Bourgeois, but the pieces combined a sense of mythic power with a sensitivity to shape that was all their own.”