Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition that juxtaposes paintings by Joan Mitchell and sculptures by John Chamberlain.
Born just one year apart in the Midwestern United States, Mitchell and Chamberlain were inspired by the muscular spontaneity of Abstract Expressionists such as Franz Kline and Willem De Kooning. Mitchell is considered a principal figure in the second generation of Abstract Expressionists as well as one of the few female exponents. Her lively and impassioned paintings laud the beauty of the natural world. Chamberlain is best known for his metal sculptures constructed from discarded automobile-body parts and other modern metal detritus, where the industrial origin of materials is underscored by a cumulative formal elegance.
Mitchell worked for the most part on large-scale canvases and multiple panels, striving to evince a natural rhythm that emanated from the expansiveness of gesture and from uninhibited use of color; Chamberlain's emphasis on discovered or improvised correlations between material and color rather than a prescribed idea of composition have often prompted descriptions of his work as three-dimensional Abstract Expressionist paintings. The painter and the sculptor share a preference for excess and spontaneity in their art-making. The energetic clustered brushwork of Mitchell's Yves (1991), Untitled (1987-88) and Row Row (1982) perfectly complements Chamberlain's crumpled, crushed, bent, and welded ACEDIDDLEY (2008) GOOSECAKEWALK (2009) and STUFFEDWITHSURPRISE
(2011), in which sweeping, sterling contours suggest an aggregate of brushstrokes.
Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) was born in Chicago and attended Smith College and The Art Institute of Chicago. She moved to France in the late 1950s and in 1967 she settled in Vertheuil, where she lived until her death. Her work is part of numerous public collections including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Collection, London; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Retrospective surveys include "Joan Mitchell Pastels," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1992); "The Paintings of Joan Mitchell," Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002); and "The Paintings of Joan Mitchell," Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama (2003, travelled to Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas and Phillips Collection, Washington, DC through 2004).
John Chamberlain (1927-2011) was born in Rochester, Indiana. He attended the Art Institute of Chicago (1951-52) and Black Mountain College (1955-56) and moved to New York in 1956. His work is represented in many major public collections including Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas; Menil Collection, Houston; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum Ludwig, Cologne; and Tate Modern, London. He had his first retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1971, followed by more than one hundred one-person exhibitions, including Dia Art Foundation (1983); "John Chamberlain: Sculpture, 1954-1985," Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1986); Staatlich Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (1991); "John Chamberlain: Sculpture," Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1996); "John Chamberlain: Foam Sculptures (1966-79) and Photographs (1989-2004)," Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas (2005-06); and "John Chamberlain: American Tableau," Menil Collection, Houston (2009). His most recent retrospective, "Choices," was held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2012. His work has been included in numerous international survey exhibitions, including Bienal de São Paulo (1961, 1994), Biennale di Venezia (1964), Whitney Biennial (1973, 1987), and Documenta 7 (1982). "Chamberlain at the Fairchild" is on view at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables, Florida through April 30, 2013.
Chamberlain died in Manhattan in 2011.