Polly Apfelbaum: Atomic Mystic Portraits

November 17, 2016 - January 14, 2017

Polly Apfelbaum
Atomic Mystic Puzzle 1
woodblock monoprint on handmade Japanese paper
25 x 25 inches

Senior & Shopmaker is pleased to present Polly Apfelbaum: Atomic Mystic Portraits, an exhibition of the artist’s recent monoprints and woodblock prints produced in collaboration with her longtime publisher, Durham Press. In her fabric sculptures, installations, ceramics, and works on paper, Apfelbaum explores complex formal and chromatic relationships, pushing the canon of modernist abstraction in decidedly original directions. Her work is steeped in references to feminism, women's work, craft, and fashion, and in particular the cultural associations inherent in pattern and design.

A recipient of the Rome Prize in 2013-14, Apfelbaum’s Italian visit led to a fascination with the drapery and colored fabrics depicted in Renaissance and Baroque paintings.  The fluorescent color of her Byzantine Rocker series is achieved by Apfelbaum’s employment of the split fountain or “rainbow roll” technique, in which multiple colors are partially mixed to achieve a continuous gradient effect. The technique appears again but in smaller segments in works such as Mosaic Mile, a large-scale monoprint inspired by decorative inlay mosaic floors typical of medieval Italian architecture. The “Cosmati” technique entailed elaborate inlays of small triangles and rectangles of colored stones. In Apfelbaum’s work, the effect is crafted from a lexicon of 1500 hand-laid, mosaic-like blocks which are inked and printed in different combinations on heavy handmade paper. The dazzling color and pattern of her new series, Atomic Mystic Portraits and Atomic Mystic Puzzles, are studies in the formal relationship of parts to the whole.

Born in 1955 in Abingdon, Pennsylvania, Polly Apfelbaum resides in New York. Her solo exhibition Face (Geometry) Naked (Eyes) is on view at the Ben Maltz Gallery, OTIS College of Arts and Design, Los Angeles, CA through December 4, 2016. Her work is included in the collections of the Perez Art Museum, Miami; Museum of Modern of Art, New York; Whitney Museum of Art of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; and Musée D’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, among others.


September 15 - November 12, 2016

Click here to view the exhibition catalogue

Bruce Conner
photo etching
19 9/16 x 16 5/8 inches
artist's proof

To coincide with the artist’s retrospective, BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE, which opened at the Museum of Modern Art on July 3 and continues through October 2, 2016, Senior & Shopmaker Gallery will present a one-person exhibition of photo etchings from Conner’s DENNIS HOPPER ONE MAN SHOW, 1971-73. In their final state, the twenty-six images that comprise the series were bound into three leather volumes; the gallery will exhibit rare unbound prints from the collection of the Conner Family Trust in San Francisco.

The genesis for this print project dates back to the late 1950s, when Conner began a series of paper collages using fragments of 19th-century engraved illustrations styled on those by French Surrealist Max Ernst. Conner’s collages depict a surreal, hallucinatory universe populated by images of flora and fauna, machine parts, and disembodied figures. His use of disparate appropriated and recycled materials parallel the techniques used to make the films and assemblages for which he is well known. Interested in shifting personas and subverting traditional notions of authorship, Conner attributed this body of work to his friend and fellow Kansas native, Dennis Hopper. The unwillingness in the mid-1960s of his Los Angeles dealer Nicholas Wilder to exhibit the work under another’s name, as well as Conner’s refusal to reveal his own identity, led to their relative obscurity during this time period.

A decade later, these collages became the source material for a series of photo etchings produced with Kathan Brown at Crown Point Press in Oakland, CA and published in 1971-73. In a performative full-circle, Conner returned the collages to their original printed state, producing twenty-six etchings bound in three black leather volumes and titled collectively DENNIS HOPPER ONE MAN SHOW VOLUMES I–III. Conner printed a limited number of unbound etchings, which will be on view in the exhibition. Acting simultaneously as artwork and as foil for a larger conceptual project, this series is considered by many to be among Conner’s major works.

The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an essay by Rachel Federman, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Drawings at the Morgan Library & Museum and former Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is the exclusive representative of Bruce Conner’s editioned work from the Conner Family Trust.

BRUCE CONNER: IT’S ALL TRUE is the artist’s first monographic museum exhibition in New York and the first complete retrospective of his 50-year career. It brings together over 250 objects, from film and video to painting, assemblage, drawing, prints, photography, photograms, and performance from Conner’s varied oeuvre. Organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the show will travel there in October 2016 and to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, in February 2017.

Martin Puryear: Etchings

May 21 - July 29, 2016

In celebration of Martin Puryear’s monumental sculpture, Big Bling, installed in New York’s Madison Square Park through January 2017, Senior & Shopmaker is pleased to present a selection of etchings produced by the artist at Paulson Bott Press from 2008 through 2014.

Puryear’s printmaking is intimately connected to and revelatory of the creative process which informs his nuanced and meticulously crafted sculptures. In the artist’s words, “Prints are direct. It’s very freeing to work so directly. There is an element of immediacy about it, or there should be. In my hands it often isn’t because I tend to be difficult to satisfy in terms of getting it the way I want it.”  In his prints, Puryear uses line to investigate a form’s potential, whether schematic and minimal as in Untitled VI (State I) and Untitled VI (State II), 2012, or dense and volumetric in his description of the narrative forms in Black Cart and Phrygian.

Puryear’s graphic work is currently the subject of Multiple Dimensions, a traveling exhibition organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, which traveled to the Morgan Library & Museum, New York and opens May 27th at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC. 

From Point to Line

Works by Mel Bochner, Agnes Denes, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mangold, Mary Miss, Vera Molnar, Edda Renouf, Dorothea Rockburne, Fred Sandback, Richard Tuttle, Gunther Uecker, Lee Ufan

April 20 - June 18, 2016

Senior & Shopmaker is pleased to present From Point to Line, a group exhibition of works by artists whose common approach towards minimal, reductive imagery reveals remarkable diversity of expression.  Whether relying on mathematical concepts or intuitive forms of drawing, the placement and meaning of line is central to the artists’ intentions.

Sol LeWitt Pyramid 1986 gouache on paper 22 x 30 inches

Sol LeWitt
gouache on paper
22 x 30 inches

Artists such as Mel Bochner, Sol LeWitt, and Dorothea Rockburne use line and geometry to define spatial relationships and conceptual frameworks for artmaking. In LeWitt’s 1973 print portfolio, The Location of Lines, specific written instructions provided by the artist are incorporated as part of the image itself. The conceptual process is transparent and accessible, allowing the viewer to trace the evolution of what is intended as a large wall drawing. Mel Bochner’s 1997 wood engraving, 12” x 3”, presents an objective exercise in measuring the space between specified spaces or points—the distance between the edges of an etching plate, or the edges of the paper support. Though based on rational principles, its tongue in cheek rationalism reveals the vacuous nature of the endeavor. Dorothea Rockburne studied mathematics with Professor Max Dehn at Black Mountain College, and her fascination with proportion, geometry, and the Golden Ratio are found in her cut and folded drawings and works on paper. While Robert Mangold is no less interested in geometry, he uses line in a more lyrical way to reinforce the two-dimensional plane of paintings, drawings, and prints.

In works on paper by Edda Renouf and Gunther Uecker line is a means of exploring the physical process of drawing and inherent nature of their materials. Renouf‘s drawings are built up with layers of pastel upon which, using an etching needle, she incises vertical or horizontal lines to lift the fibers of the paper. While generally ordered, Renouf’s drawings synthesize the organic and the geometric. Vera Molnar’s disrupted computer algorithms and Lee Ufan’s repetitive linear mark-making exploit the phenomena of chance and the unexpected in the drawing process.

Richard Tuttle’s wire sculptures of the 1970s combined the essential qualities of drawing and sculpture, as did Fred Sandback’s yarn sculptures that defined space and volume of the architectural environment with the sparest of means. In their drawings and prints, line is used to create the illusion of spatial depth and perceptual shifts. In works on paper by environmental artists Mary Miss and Agnes Denes, line is used diagrammatically to relate to actual structures or the mapping of real or theorized spatial domains. Miss’s Drawing for Field Rotation, 1981 is a study for an earthwork sculpture in Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, University Park, IL incorporating 125 wooden poles that radiate in eight lines from the center gently defining the slope of the landscape.

For further information, please contact Betsy Senior, Laurence Shopmaker, or Tyler Haughey at 212-213-6767 or at gallery@seniorandshopmaker.com.

New York Topographics: Bernd and Hilla Becher, Nicholas Nixon, Thomas Struth

February 5 - April 9, 2016


Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is pleased to present New York Topographics, a group exhibition featuring photographs of New York City by Bernd and Hilla Becher, Nicholas Nixon, and Thomas Struth.

A term coined by curator William Jenkins in 1975, “New Topographics” described a group of landscape photographers, Nixon and the Bechers among them, whose pictures had an elegantly banal aesthetic. Jenkins’ exhibition at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York titled New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape brought to the fore the work of photographers who challenged the ideology of America’s longstanding myths of nature and the West. Rigorously formal, predominantly black-and-white prints of city streets, warehouses, industrial sites, and suburban housing stood in stark contrast to a tradition of idealized landscape photography heretofore practiced by artists such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. 

Thomas Struth West 74th Street, New York/Upper West 1978, printed 2002 gelatin silver print 26 x 33 1/8 inches edition of 10

Thomas Struth
West 74th Street, New York/Upper West
1978, printed 2002
gelatin silver print
26 x 33 1/8 inches
edition of 10

Nicholas Nixon (American, b. 1947), like his peers Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, and Stephen Shore, turned his lens on the built environment of 1970s urban America, specifically his native Boston and New York City. Whereas his later work focused on portraiture, Nixon’s cityscapes are devoid of people. From rooftop vantage points, he chronicled the density and complexity of urban development. Unlike the cropped typologies of Bernd and Hilla Becher, Nixon’s images are expansive, capturing from a distance the mass of the city against its vast skyline.

Bernd and Hilla Becher (German, 1931-2007; 1934-2015) photographed disappearing industrial architecture around Europe and North America for over fifty years, forging the medium’s connection to Minimal and Conceptual art movements. Shot in an austere, documentary style and often organized in grids, their images of water towers, gas tanks, and factories are immediately recognizable and decisively influenced generations of their students at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf, Thomas Struth (German, b. 1954) among them. With a scholarship from the Academy, Struth traveled to New York in 1977, photographing over a six-month period the desolate neighborhoods of Tribeca, Wall Street, Soho, and the outer boroughs. With the same dispassionate approach of his mentors, Struth catalogued in topographical detail and wide perspective the streets of the city. Common to all the images made over this period is a clear geometry and centralized viewpoint, with shots taken at eye level in the center of the street.

For further information, please contact Betsy Senior, Laurence Shopmaker, or Tyler Haughey at 212-213-6767 or at gallery@seniorandshopmaker.com.