For its inaugural installation in Reading, Vermont, the Hall Art Foundation is pleased to present solo exhibitions of work by Georg Baselitz, A. R. Penck, Neil Jenney and Edward Burtynsky in addition to an outdoor installation by Olafur Eliasson.
A. R. PENCK
Georg Baselitz is one of Germany’s most celebrated living artists, with a career spanning more than fifty years. Born Georg Kern in 1938 in Deutschbaselitz in Saxony, Germany, he is possibly best known for his paintings of inverted figures, animals, landscapes and still-lives that emerged in 1969. Engaging these classic figurative motifs, Baselitz creates and/or displays work upside down in order to re-focus the viewer on the abstract qualities of his compositions rather than their representational ones. Baselitz has incorporated imagery of forests, trees and rural landscapes in his work since his “Fracture” paintings of the late 1960s. In Winterzeit (2005), one of the recent landscape paintings on view, he revisits this subject in gestural and spontaneous flashes of bright, transparent color that are typical of his more recent work. In three of these paintings, Baselitz also includes in the foreground the inverted bottom half of a figure standing at the entry to a wooded path. Images of legs and feet have been an important presence in Baselitz’s paintings since the 1960s, and can be interpreted as self-portraits or self-reference. Also on view is a group of large-scale, circular portraits of the artist and his wife, Elke. In works like Erst so, Dann so (2002), the figures are not positioned naturalistically in space, but float within a field of color and pattern that is as much foreground as it is background.
A. R. Penck, born Ralf Winkler in Dresden in 1939, is a prominent and influential German artist. Since the beginning of his career, Penck has pursued an intense interest in the relationship between individuals and society, and the political and social structures that govern them. He has been fueled by studies in information theories, cybernetics, science fiction, behavioral science, and political and social philosophies. These subjects have been manifested in his painting since 1963, when Penck formulated the basis of his mature style while living in East Berlin. In an environment where any art created outside the socialist realist mold could be called subversive, Penck developed a painting style where abstract imagery could render political and existential realities legible. He did this by perfecting a universal pictorial language made up of elementary signs and symbols, often primitive in their appearance, which anyone could understand and reproduce. Untitled (Figur Mit Ausgestreckten Armen) (1966), one of the earliest works on view, depicts a male figure whose arms extend directly from his head across the canvas. Executed in simplified lines and fleshy tones, this work is an unusually naturalistic rendering of a motif that would become standard for Penck – the abstracted male figure, a symbol of individual autonomy and vulnerability. In later paintings like Untitled (Standart) (1970), Penck pared his figure down to a simple outline, adding other pictorial signs and emblems against a neutral background. Penck heightened the legibility and symbolic content of his graphically rendered motifs by gradually stripping it of its tonal relationships. Overall, Penck exercised a strong influence by addressing political and social problems in his pictures and by formulating models or concepts that gave a general, comprehensive view of the world.
Edward Burtynsky (b. 1955) is a Canadian photographer who has achieved international recognition for his large-format color photographs of global industrial landscapes. Burtynsky's most famous photographs are sweeping landscape views where modern industrial activity has reshaped the surface of the land. His imagery combines the raw elements of mining, quarrying, manufacturing, shipping, oil production, and recycling into exquisitely detailed, exactingly rendered, and unexpectedly sublime landscapes. In a series initiated in the early 1990s, Burtynsky has photographed active and abandoned stone quarries in Vermont, Italy, India, China and Iberia. Rock of Ages #59 (1991) shows an overhead view of the abandoned granite quarry in Barre, Vermont. Given its form through a process of extraction, this abandoned quarry is now a monumental void filled with turquoise water. Burtynsky has described these Vermont quarries as “inverted skyscrapers” or “residual landscapes.” Burtynsky’s “Tailing” series from 1995-96 document slurries of nickel production waste from mining operations in Sudbury, Ontario. In Nickel Tailings #31 (1996), a river of vivid, blood-orange slurry cuts through the rural landscape. Burtynsky renders this tailing as an abstract and dramatic composition, while documenting its environmental impact as an ecological wound.
Born in 1945 in Torrington, Connecticut, Neil Jenney has been a defiantly unique voice in contemporary painting for over forty years. He came to prominence in the mid-1970s with the emergence of what curator Marcia Tucker described as “Bad Painting.” Created between 1968 and 1970, Jenney’s "Bad Paintings" were developed in reaction to the minimalist, conceptual, and hyperrealist styles prominent at the time. Jenney’s figurative paintings include only a few elements, pared down to their most essential colors and forms, which are presented in simple cause/effect or action/outcome relationships. In Hunter and Hunted (1969), green is grass and blue is sky. The paint is applied thinly, in broad, brushy marks and scratches. Each composition is encased within the artist’s heavy black wood frames, which he designs and often embellishes with the work’s title in a block-letter caption, creating a relationship between word and image. Jenney’s “Bad Paintings” presented a new and unique style of realism based on ideas rather than mimetic accuracy, and were instrumental in re-establishing figurative painting in America as a serious art form. Jenney continued to expand this type of realism in his later works that have been dubbed as “Good Paintings.” In Day Time (2006), for example, he subtlely contrasts the light of a morning and evening sky with barely perceptible brush strokes.
Born in Denmark in 1967 to Icelandic parents, Olafur Eliasson is among the most influential and internationally acclaimed artists of his generation. Throughout his career, he has created numerous installations that re-contextualize natural phenomena -- works or situations in which visitors engage with basic, familiar elements like water, light, wind, temperature or vegetation, in an unfamiliar context. Sometimes described by the artist as “devices for the experience of reality,” these works are meant to prompt a greater sense of awareness about how we interpret and engage with our world. Throughout history, waterfalls have been linked with romantic visions of the sublime. Measuring approximately 20 feet tall, Waterfall (2004) is comprised of stainless steel construction scaffolding and plastic pumps that cycle water from a basin to the top of the scaffolding and back down again to dramatic effect. Waterfall (2004) is characteristic of Eliasson’s fusion of nature and technology, and his ongoing investigation of how we think about and react to our environment. The epic associations we would normally have in response to a natural fall are brought into question with Eliasson's industrialized version in which the mechanics are intentionally obvious and materially unspectacular.
Lexington Farm was built by Elisha W. Watkins in the early 1800’s, and was operated as a dairy farm until the 1980s. The property consists of a stone farmhouse, cow barn, horse barn and tractor barn, grouped together at the southern extremity of the village of Felchville (also known as Reading). The farmhouse and barns are situated next to a waterfall on a tributary of the Black River, and are surrounded by pastures, hayfields and extensive woodland.
All visitors will be accompanied by a guide. Group tours are limited to 12 persons.
Admission is free. Donations will be forwarded to a local charitable organization.
Open seasonally from May through October.
Please contact email@example.com or leave a message at +1 802 952 1056 with the date and time of your desired visit and we will do our best to accommodate your request.
551 VT Route 106
Reading, VT 05062
+1 802 952 1056