Spotlight

Virginia Jaramillo

Hales, London, C52

Courtesy: Hales, London

Courtesy: Hales, London

Hales Gallery is delighted to announce its return to Frieze New York for the fair’s 2017 edition, with a revelatory presentation of American artist Virginia Jaramillo’s spectacular curvilinear abstractions. Coinciding with Frieze, Jaramillo’s work, including a curvilinear painting, will feature in the Brooklyn Museum’s We Wanted A Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85. Tate Modern’s Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power (12 July – 22 October 2017, London, UK) will feature another work from the series.

Painted in New York in the 1970s, these bold canvases, shown publicly at Frieze New York for the first time in over four decades, brilliantly express the creative vision of a previously under-recognised artist now receiving renewed and deserved attention.

Across her rich and varied practice, Jaramillo has continually explored abstraction, rigorously experimenting with material and process to, in Jaramillo’s words, translate ‘the structure of our physical, spiritual and mental worlds’ through space and geometry in art. After relocating to New York from California in 1967 following the civil rights protests, Jaramillo’s painting evolved in response to her new environment. Immersed in the New York arts community, working alongside figures such as Melvin Edwards, Frank Bowling and Sam Gilliam, Jaramillo embarked on her ‘curvilinear’ paintings: intensely vivid fields of colour disrupted by precisely painted lines in contrasting shades that curve, divide and intersect.

Originally debuted in the seminal 1971 DeLuxe Show in Houston, Texas (supported by the Menil Foundation), and in the 1972 Whitney Annual, Jaramillo’s curvilinear paintings were received with critical acclaim and recognition of their significance. In a 1970 review of these works, Bowling describes them as a ‘response to paint more physical than cerebral’. Indeed, the physical materiality of her medium (in this case, paint) is central to Jaramillo’s work; for these canvases, she spent many hours mixing paints to create deep colour fields in which new tones are revealed in different lights and from different angles. The resulting experience transports the viewer beyond the painted surface, evoking cosmic or metaphysical planes of existence.

Virginia Jaramillo (b. 1939, El Paso, Texas) studied at Otis Art Institute, Los Angeles, from 1958– 61. Jaramillo lives and works in New York. Jaramillo’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at prestigious institutions, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles (1959–61), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1972), Mexican Museum, San Francisco (1980), A.I.R. Gallery, New York (1984), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2011), MoMA PS1, New York (2012), Brooklyn Museum, New York (2014, 2016) and Tate Modern, London (2016). Selected public and corporate collections include the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Richfield, Connecticut; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Mexican Museum, San Francisco; Pasadena Art Museum, California; Kemper Museum, Missouri and the Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City.

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