Lennon, Weinberg is pleased to present Stephen Mueller’s exhibition of new paintings and watercolors. It is his first at our gallery and his first in New York since 2006.
Stephen Mueller makes very distinctive abstract paintings, immediately recognizable for their color combinations and symbolic shapes. He establishes a radiant atmospheric field and populates it with ovals, banded circles and other rounded forms, and has introduced into these new paintings spectral rays and fans of colored wedges. These elements, along with contrasts between opacity and transparency and framing devices that resemble clouds or theatrical curtains, give the paintings an ambiguous spatial reading while at the same time insisting upon their flatness.
Mueller’s paintings reflect his interests in Buddhism, Tantra art, and Tibetan Tanka paintings, but the titles of his recent paintings suggest a far broader interest in cultural mythologies and their contemporary implications. Kalki is an avatar of the Hindu tradition whose appearance will mark the end of the age of darkness, and Mueller uses the name as title for a painting in which opposing black and white clouds part to reveal a cluster of brilliant forms surrounded by hazy auras, drifts of light and revelatory rays. Shu is one of the primordial gods of Egyptian mythology whose role was to separate the sky from the earth and is a fitting title for a painting in which a receding, central blue circle is crowned by a colored fan that snaps the painting taut to the surface. Juno displays an almost planetary arrangement of circles and rays around an arabesque of shapes and contrasting colors that suggests the figure of a floating deity.
Stephen Mueller (b. 1947) lives and works in New York. He attended graduate school at Bennington College. He moved to New York after graduating in 1971. Since that time he has had more than forty solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Houston and other cities across this country as well in London, Goteborg, New Delhi and last year, Berlin and Milan. An exhibition of fourteen small-format “mandala” paintings was on view this year at the Benenson Gallery at the Omi Art Center upstate in Ghent, New York. He has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Francis Greenburger Award and grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Gottleib Foundation.