Edda Renouf: Structures and Fields, Drawings 2011-2017
September 13 - November 4, 2017
Senior & Shopmaker Gallery is pleased to announce Edda Renouf: Structures and Fields, Drawings 2011-2017, the artist’s second exhibition at the gallery since 2013. The exhibition is comprised of four distinct bodies of drawings created over a six-year period, which, despite different techniques and imagery, are linked by the artist’s thematic concerns and interest in revealing the properties inherent in her materials. Born in Mexico City in 1943 and educated in New York, Renouf, an American, has lived in Paris since 1992.
A painter of subtle, layered, abstract canvases, Renouf is also a quintessential and deeply intuitive graphic artist, approaching paper as a sculptor handles plaster or marble, teasing out materiality by rubbing, scoring, and incising its surface. These interventions may take place either before and after the artist draws on the sheet with ink, graphite, and oil or chalk pastel. The paper support thereby becomes an integral element in a dynamic interplay between process, material, and image.
While Renouf’s vocabulary is emphatically reductive, the new drawings suggest psychological and/or topographic spaces, and engage the viewer in a visual journey generated by the rhythms of an evolving body of work made over time. The focus of the Changed Structure series is the purest essence of the paper itself, which Renouf scores to create networks of incised lines whose raised edges cast minute shadows across the surface. Delicate nets of black ink or graphite dots tattoo the surface. In the second group of drawings, a ladder motif appears in different variations against the ground of the paper, an unmistakable metaphor for an aspirational journey heavenwards towards light and the immaterial. Black ink and white oil pastel tether these ladders to their metaphysical locations, weighting them against the barely visible texture of the cotton rag paper.
The exhibition crescendos in the drawings from the Light Field series of 2016-2017 in which a sunlight yellow oil pastel that fills Renouf’s finely drawn geometric forms appears like a bolt of light entering a room. This bright yellow is sometimes juxtaposed with a dense white oil pastel that forms a contrasting counterweight. Each drawing in the series explores the logic of an internal architecture of floating solid or empty shapes, as in Light Passage, 2017, the most ebullient with its four bands of syncopated bright color. The series shows Renouf ‘s hand at its most assertive and insistent in consigning light to paper.
The show concludes with very recent chalk pastel drawings titled Open Field in which Renouf rubs the dusty, earth-based pigment over the entire sheet, revealing the texture of the paper before incising it with lines. The surface is subjected to erasure in certain areas, creating an overall sense of a weathered and ancient frescoed wall. Suffused with a gentler, more nuanced light, these drawings represent a return to landscape with their linear structures suggestive of horizons and enclosures, the end of a journey or perhaps the beginning.
This year, Edda Renouf's work was included in the group exhibitions, The American Dream: Pop to the Present, organized by the British Museum, London, and 500 Years of Drawing, Bowdoin College Art Museum, Brunswick, Maine. Edda Renouf -Visible Sounds, a solo exhibition of recent paintings and drawings, was presented at Annely Juda Fine Art, London in spring 2017. The artist’s work is found in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Centre Pompidou in Paris; the British Museum in London; and the Australian National Gallery in Canberra, among many others.
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