Betty Woodman, The Polka Dot Man, 2010, glazed earthenware, acrylic and canvas, 82 1/2×38 x 1 1/2 inches. Courtesy of Max Protetch Gallery.
Max Protetch Gallery is pleased to announce Paintings, an exhibition of new work by Betty Woodman in the Project Space. Woodman, widely acknowledged as one of the most innovative artists of her generation, continues to experiment in both two- and three-dimensional media, expanding our understanding of pictorial space and the intersection of painting and sculpture.
Paintings will consist of three vertical-format paintings that combine canvas and ceramic elements. In each an ambiguous subject––a human/vessel hybrid––occupies the foreground of a tightly-framed architectural space. The subject is made up of glazed and painted ceramic segments that stand out in shallow relief against the canvas to which they are affixed. On each canvas Woodman has painted a section of a brightly colored room, so that the composition is a portrait of a subject and its environment.
Taking her cue from a series of narrow canvases depicting full-length figures in interiors painted by Matisse in 1912 and 1913, Woodman uses architecture as a framing device, creating play between depth and flatness and subverting expectations about sculptural form. Even as the ceramic elements in each painting are experienced as a kind of drawing, the painted canvases are suggestive of perspective and three-dimensional space; and though the vessel is by its very nature a container, in these works it is the vessel that is contained within a representation of architecture. In Woodman’s work, the vessel becomes a metaphor for the place where painting becomes sculpture, and vice versa.
Betty Woodman is currently featured in Ceramic Interactions: Contemporary Explorations of the Collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (on view through July 11), where she has created a new installation inspired by the Lansdowne Drawing Room. She was recently the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museo Delle Porcellane, Palazzo Pitti in Florence. This summer, together with George Woodman, she will receive the Anderson Ranch National Artist Award. Her work is featured in many public and private collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art; the Boymans-Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam; the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; and Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she was the subject of a retrospective in 2006.