News: Artist of the week | eazel highlights: Mary Dill Henry (1913 - 2009), March  3, 2021 - Eazel

Artist of the week | eazel highlights: Mary Dill Henry (1913 - 2009)

March 3, 2021 - Eazel

Mary Dill Henry (1913 - 2009)

Mary Dill Henry’s most notable works are in large oil paintings, alongside acrylics and prints; they are characterized by geometric abstraction. Henry built a signature style, synthesizing past and present art movements into bold and striking compositions.

A rare exhibition of paintings from 1965 to 1970 is on show at Berry Campbell Gallery, New York, titled Mary Dill Henry: Love Jazz (Feb 11 - Mar 13, 2021). Works from this period include oscillating shapes form kinetic patterns and Op Art illusions. This qulity can be seen in works such as Love Jazz (1965), same title as the exhibition, which represents two abstract hearts that seem to beat together in rhythmic unison with the variously striped patterns that both unite and divide them; that daringly juxtaposed colors arrest the eye with the immediacy of Pop Art.

The most significant influence on her practice occurred in the mid-1940s, while studying at the Institute of Design in Chicago with the Bauhaus teacher and visionary, László Moholy-Nagy (1895–1946). Studying under Moholy-Nagy exposed Henry to the illustrious history of the Bauhaus and its many manifestations. At the Institute, she pursued the full Bauhaus curriculum, receiving training in photography, architecture, and design.

After receiving an MA at the Institute of Design in Chicago, Henry was offered technical positions from several schools. However, the cultural atmosphere at the time normalized women to follow men’s career over their own; so Henry moved whenever her husband’s work required them to relocate. Although Henry was a serious artist and had regular exhibitions, she kept a low profile. In 1966, liberation from the marriage enabled Henry to focus on her art, although it meant she had to deal with financial struggles to a certain extent.

“It was as if, after 20 years of fulfilling conventional expectations as a wife, worker, and mother, she was released into a constant stream of creative production, capturing the exuberant hedonism of Northern California, while reined in by the consummate formal control she had assimilated as an American Constructivist in Chicago.” 
- from Matthew Kangas’ review of Mary Dill Henry’s first solo exhibition at Arleigh Gallery, San Francisco (Artforum, 1969)

Through her artworks, Henry showed the utopian ideals associated with Constructivism, as well the principle behind de Stijl movement; that art and life are inseparable. Although influenced by these movements, Henry expressed more idiosyncratic and humorous constructive patterns in her works. She achieved a beauty of form that transcends the ordinary and gave joy and surprise to the eye. Henry’s consideration of contemplative spaces speaks to the viewer with energy and insight, while her sense of humor is also evident. 

“Art sustains us when the chaos of the world with its wars and depressions engulf us. And the bright hope of humanity to know that even in the midst of such hopelessness, we can and do create art that can lift and inspire.” 
- Mary Dill Henry

Mary Dill Henry: Love Jazz at Berry Campbell Gallery, New York (Feb 11 - Mar 13, 2021)

Starting from her first solo exhibition in 1967, Henry participated in hundreds of shows. Since 1980, seven retrospective exhibitions have been held in California, including several museum shows. Among many honors, she received a Flintridge Award for Visual Artists in 2001 and the Twining Humber Award for Lifetime Achievement, from the Artist Trust, in Seattle, in 2006.

Henry’s paintings belong to many public collections, including the Seattle Art Museum; the Frye Art Museum, Seattle; the Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, Washington; the Tacoma Art Museum; the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; the Sheldon Art Museum, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and the Institute of Design, Chicago, as well as corporate art collections, including Microsoft, Safeco, Ampex, Varian Associates, and Hewlett-Packard. 

News: The Fairfield University Art Museum Announces Major Gift of Artwork by Artist Stephen Pace, February 13, 2021 - Fairfield University Art Museum

The Fairfield University Art Museum Announces Major Gift of Artwork by Artist Stephen Pace

February 13, 2021 - Fairfield University Art Museum

The Fairfield University Art Museum has received a major gift of more than 130 paintings, watercolors, drawings, prints, and sketchbooks from the Stephen and Palmina Pace Foundation.

The Fairfield University Art Museum is pleased to announce that the Stephen and Palmina Pace Foundation has gifted more than 132 works by Stephen Pace (American, 1918-2010) to the museum, with outstanding examples from across the artist’s oeuvre.

Stephen Pace was born in Missouri in 1918 to a farming family. He began his formal art training at the age of 17, studying drawing and watercolor with WPA artist and illustrator Robert Lahr. He continued to hone his skills while serving abroad during World War II, painting views of European landscapes. Pace’s early works are represented in this gift by a very early and accomplished watercolor of a farm scene from his childhood in Missouri. After WWII, Pace studied art on the GI Bill at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel Allende, Mexico before he made his way to New York City. This period is represented by a lovely oil painting of the Mexican desert landscape looking towards San Miguel Allende.

In 1947, Pace moved to New York City where he continued his art studies on the GI Bill at the Art Students League and developed important friendships with members of the New York School of Abstract Expressionist. Still lifes, nudes, and early abstractions are among the works included in the gift from this period. Pace used the last of his GI bill funds to study with the renowned abstract expressionist artist and teacher Hans Hofmann, in New York and then in Provincetown, Mass. Hofmann had an immediately visible influence on Pace’s work in the 1950s, particularly in Pace’s use of color planes to describe volume.

During the 1950s, Stephen was singled out by Hofmann as one of the finest painters to emerge from the second generation of abstract expressionists. During his long career, Pace made important contributions to the tradition of Abstract Expressionism. This period of abstract expressionism is represented by several important paintings, as well as numerous watercolors, prints, and drawings.

In 1960, Pace returned to painting more figural subjects in a style characterized by simplified forms and imaginative colors, and this remained the focus of his artistic practice for the remainder of his career. Returning to his rural roots, Pace’s work begins to depict subjects ranging from gardening and nudes, to horses and lobstermen. The gift to Fairfield includes all of these subjects, and is particularly strong in paintings of horses — one of Pace’s favorite subjects.

The donated works collectively are very important because they demonstrate Pace’s process in moving from studies to finished works. Pace's artwork will be well-used in teaching across disciplines, especially in Studio Art and Art History classes.

Three of the gifted works by Pace are among those in the current Fairfield University Art Museum (FUAM) exhibition in Bellarmine Hall Galleries, The Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks: an ink drawing of a Great Blue Heron, and a watercolor and a lithograph of Herring Gulls. A full exhibition of Pace’s work is in the planning stages.

News: Air Mail: Arts Intel Report | Mary Dill Henry: Love Jazz, February 13, 2021 - J.V. for Air Mail

Air Mail: Arts Intel Report | Mary Dill Henry: Love Jazz

February 13, 2021 - J.V. for Air Mail

The 20th-century artist Mary Dill Henry (1913–2009) flouted expectation with great seriousness. She left her role as a housewife to focus on her art, even if that meant being short on cash. She lived in Mendocino, a sleepy northern-California town with little culture but plenty of visual inspiration. She was influenced by the work of the Bauhaus visionary Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, as well as by Piet Mondrian. She was touched by Constructivism and Op art. But she painted in a style of exuberant precision that was completely her own. “Love Jazz” brings Henry’s bright, joyous pieces into focus after many decades spent out of the public eye. —J.V.

News: Perle Fine | Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg receives 5 masterpieces on loan, February 13, 2021 - Maggie Duffy for Tampa Bay Times

Perle Fine | Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg receives 5 masterpieces on loan

February 13, 2021 - Maggie Duffy for Tampa Bay Times

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg’s major renovation of their permanent collection galleries last fall made the museum feel like a new place.

Now, through a yearlong sharing collaboration, four paintings from the Art Bridges Collection by celebrated 20th century American artists are on display in the museum’s Modern and Post War galleries.

Works by Jacob Lawrence, Hughie Lee-Smith, Norman Wilfred Lewis and Lee Krasner will remain on display through February 2022. A fifth painting by Marsden Hartley will arrive in June and remain on view through August 2022.

The loans expand the museum’s inclusivity with works by Black, female and LGBTQ artists.

News: Exhibition Feature: Docent's Corner | Ida Kohlmeyer, February 11, 2021 - Kat Leahey for Blowing Rock Art & History Museum

Exhibition Feature: Docent's Corner | Ida Kohlmeyer

February 11, 2021 - Kat Leahey for Blowing Rock Art & History Museum

I love, love, love this Ida Kohlmeyer painting! The colors, the brush strokes and most of all the meditative, serene feeling I experience while looking at it.

Ida Kohlmeyer was an American painter and sculptor who lived and worked in Louisiana. She took up painting in her 30’s and achieved wide recognition for her art in museums and galleries throughout the United States.

After receiving her MFA from Tulane University in 1956, she taught for seven years and was a portrait painter of children. Wanting more inspiration and a deeper meaning in life, she became a student during a summer at Hans Hofmann’s Abstract Expressive Arts School in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She was also a student and friend of Mark Rothko. In her words, she came to realize “Painting need not be a painting of something, not an imitation, but should be a revelation to the viewer and artist. It need not be instructional or socially critical. The support, (in this case, masonite) is flat, so a little bit of depth may be needed, misty/atmospheric usually - not perspective wise. Work progresses by unconscious impulses, one color calling for another, one shape after another.”

Why are we attracted to non-representational or object free art? Expressive Abstract art frees our brain from the dominance of reality, enabling the brain to flow within its inner states, create new emotional and cognitive associations and activate brain-states that are otherwise harder to access. This process is rewarding as it enables the exploration of yet undiscovered inner territories of the viewer’s brain.

Kohlmeyer’s painting is part of Brahm’s permanent collection and is currently on the upper level. Come relax, restore and rejuvenate!

This Docent’s Corner is brought to you by Kat Leahey

News: Eric Dever | Creative Studio Online : Figuration and Abstraction in Drawing and Painting, February  9, 2021 - Parrish Art Museum

Eric Dever | Creative Studio Online : Figuration and Abstraction in Drawing and Painting

February 9, 2021 - Parrish Art Museum

Join Eric Dever live from the Parrish studio in this online workshop for adults and teens.

This month we will create drawings and paintings that explore the dual means of representation and abstraction.

Contact Information:

Cara Conklin-Wingfield


Parrish Art Museum
279 Montauk Hwy
Water Mill


News: Whitehot Magazine: Jill Nathanson: Light Phrase at Berry Campebll, February  9, 2021 - Cori Hutchinson for Whitehot Magazine

Whitehot Magazine: Jill Nathanson: Light Phrase at Berry Campebll

February 9, 2021 - Cori Hutchinson for Whitehot Magazine

Jill Nathanson, a lifelong advocate of Color Field abstraction, wields a bright turn of phrase in her third Berry Campbell exhibition, expressing important feelings about color, proximity, and concord. Noticing the disruption of my fingers, an additional element, through Nathanson’s painting thumbnails on a checklist printed on thin paper was enough to convince me of the sheer power of the work exhibited here in which all layers on flat wooden panels sum to a fully multi-dimensional space. The acoustic quality of the paintings, hinted at by select titles (Harp, Chordzephyr, Woodwind), is heard as a result of this spatial illusion. The painter’s biographical information, and particularly her upbringing in a musical household, furthers this reading of her work. 

The paintings reach deep rhythms and rich harmonies with their expansive palettes and chiffon likeness. In Only a Friend, Nathanson mixes a platonic ideal of bleached apricot and buttery daffodil shades in the center with flanks of bubbly gray-blue and still sea-glass. If briefly considered a landscape, the viewer is unable to differentiate between window and curtains, resulting in pleasing surface tension, each edge becoming a true crevice rather than a point of delineation. An oily olive ribbon to the right, likely applied post-pour, suggests a moment of organic activity, such as the drag of a wave onto coast. 

Nathanson’s implemented notion of “color desire” similarly tugs on the viewer as one’s gaze travels across each work; the painter is uniquely aware of the somatic effects of art and its relationship to pulse. Flexing works such as Light Wrestle provoke a push-and-pull response. This active relationship with the panels is determined by the immaterial energy itself of each field, as well as the muscle required by the artist to physically handle and manipulate the materials. 

The depth created is also, in part, due to the predetermined clarity of color. Hardly ever in these paintings is there muddying despite the elaborate entanglement and overlap. Nathanson’s distinct style of color mixing yields results such as in Sparkshift, where an overlay of Baldwin apple red and powder blue does not produce purple, but instead each color remains true to itself, fulfilling the tall order of being two things at once. This technique recalls Walter Benjamin’s fragment “A Child’s View of Color,” translated by Rodney Livingstone, wherein he writes, “Color is single, not as a lifeless thing and a rigid individuality but as a winged creature that flits from one form to the next.” What is the putty pink on the right side of the panel if not a pure mood? Color in Nathanson’s work, animate, playful, pure, is described well by this Benjamin text. 

One of several paintings whose phrase-titles fall within the realm of magic is Elixir, which blends something like a magnetic binary composition with one blue tail crossing the center near the bottom. A potion of improbability and convergence, symmetry despite asymmetry, the planes in this painting stretch beyond the viewer’s belief. rising to an exercise in spirit. 

As a series, these works play with doubling. Trickster color combinations improbably defy form similarity among like-forms. Elixir and Sway ChorusLight Wrestle and Sparkshift, & Going Goya and Harp are among these form-doubles. Unexpectedly, the expert color manipulation by the artist increases visible relationality between palettes rather than forms, forcing kinship between, for example, the cool palettes of Only a Friend and Getting Light.  

Getting Light is more reminiscent of earlier Nathanson works such as those shown at MOCA Jacksonville in 2016: kaleidoscopic, radial, and gathered in a single, sometimes centered, origin point. The language of graphs is handily applied to this work as each panel undulates and crests according to its respective lightwaves. Tan Transpose, citrusy and dappled, mathematical in title and form, shades in the gaps between two plotted lines on a Y-axis. The “sine” curves here, and in many of the compositions shown, distinguish this series, mapping a rate of color and, ultimately, gaining momentum.  

In one interview, Nathanson refers to her practice as “pseudo-spontaneous,” as she realizes and tapes off the shape of each color before it is poured, then waits a full day for each color to dry. The gradual and rewarding viewing experience of the paintings is owed to this process, sloping and seeping at its own willful, radiant pace. WM

News: Lilian Burwell | New documentary highlights two local Black women artists who persevered against segregation and innovated DC’s art scene, February  6, 2021 - Kelly McDonell for The DC Line

Lilian Burwell | New documentary highlights two local Black women artists who persevered against segregation and innovated DC’s art scene

February 6, 2021 - Kelly McDonell for The DC Line

When documentary filmmaker Cintia Cabib was showcasing two films at the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.’s 2014 conference on local history, she spotted an intriguing painting of the corner of Rhode Island Avenue and 3rd Street NW while perusing a small brochure. The modernist, geometric red hues of homes lining the LeDroit Park street and a gleaming, leafless tree bisecting the frame compelled Cabib to explore the work of the artist, Hilda Wilkinson Brown.

Years of research culminated in a new documentary produced and directed by Cabib called Kindred Spirits: Artists Hilda Wilkinson Brown and Lilian Thomas Burwell. The short film is being broadcast locally by PBS stations WHUT and MPT on Feb. 4 and by WETA’s World Channel on Feb. 10. PBS stations around the country have scheduled airings of the film for Black History Month programming