ROSS BLECKNER: RECENT WORKS

20 AUGUST 2020 - 21 FEBRUARY 2021

"In the dark times
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will be singing
About the dark times."

"Motto", from Poems 1913-1956 by Bertolt Brecht (as cited by the artist in his interview to Zephyr and Maize, June 2020).

"All that remains is light - light created out of a dialectic between opposites, between black and white, between optical and painterly. Light is created out of "bad art", out of adolescent remembrance of Op Art, of Cape Canaveral, of the New York World's Fair, of America's Golden Age. The thoughts spiral endlessly backwards and forwards. And the light repulses. The eyes cannot focus on the blurred, wavering bands. Then, the light metamorphoses into the bars that block the way into the painting."

from "Ross Bleckner: Painting at the End of History" (1982) by Peter Halley, as cited in "Selected Essays. 1981-2001" (2013).

Zephyr and Maize presents an exhibition of paintings by American artist Ross Bleckner (born May 12, 1949 in Brooklyn, New York). This will be the first show of Bleckner’s work at the gallery, following the artist's interview for Zephyr and Maize that marked the beginning of collaboration in June 2020. The works on display will span from 2018 to 2020 and expand our understanding of the themes central to Bleckner's artistic practice, including his metaphors for fragile beauty and mortality, his methodology of looking into the structure of elements, along with his confident and refined technique and use of symbolic imagery and luminous colour.

The transcendental quality, complex syntax and large scale pulsating surfaces of Bleckner's paintings take roots in postwar American culture, Op Art and the abstract.  As Peter Halley writes, "their vibratory incandescence creates an analogy to the rhythmic substructure of a knowable nature. At the same time, Bleckner is moved by darker historical events. His work is a reaction to the failure of positivism, its commercial debasement in the postwar era, and to the final madness it has precipitated - nuclear terror. His work conveys a mood of questioning in the wake of this troubled history, and a realisation, relatively novel in Western civilization, that knowledge may be doubt and that doubt may be light - that the reality of disillusionment may also offer the possibility of transcendence." 

By blurring forms and surfaces in his multi-layered sensuous paintings, Bleckner makes his subjects stand out as even more ambiguous - a signature style developed through the years, revealing the concealed narratives of fragility and mortality, spiritual inquiry, along something that the artist himself calls "the dissolution and re-mutation of identity." 

Ross Bleckner currently lives and works in New York City. His artistic focus is on painting, and he held his first solo exhibition in 1975. In 1995, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum had a major retrospective of his works from the last two decades of exhibitions at acclaimed institutions such as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and the Carnegie Museum of Art. He was one of the youngest artists to be featured at the Guggenheim. Bleckner's work have been acquired by major museums including:  Museum of Modern Art, New York, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Collezione Maramotti Museum, Reggio, Italy, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Jewish Museum, New York, Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.

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