Interior Spaces is a seemingly simple concept for an exhibition, but there is more here than meets the eye. In the case of a circa 1901 self portrait of Picasso in his studio, the interior of the studio is the set for a drama. As a nude woman, presumably a model, dresses in the background, Picasso is on a couch with a troubled lady friend, as though he's explaining the presence of the other woman. Drama indeed...
A Nice period Matisse lithograph shows a sinuous reclining nude on a couch in a room festooned with pattern: the walls, the floor and the couch itself. Even the bilateral symmetry of the model's anatomy becomes a pattern of sorts. We see the model, we see the couch, and aided by a bit of perspective we assume the space within which they exist - a space that isn't empty but filled with curvilinear, orientalist patterns that curl like wisps of incense, blurring the distinction between the boundaries of the room and the atmosphere within it.
Miró, with his typically humorous and mischievous brand of surrealism, provides a lithograph entitled Interieur et Nuit (Interior and Night), printed on a piece of patterned wallpaper. He gives us the moon, stars and sundry planetoids set against a black sky at the top of the image, a white sky in the middle and a patterned wallpaper sky at the bottom. Miró has literally turned an interior space (represented by the wallpaper) inside out.
A seemingly more conventional interior can be seen in David Hockney's work, Walking Past Two Chairs. This is a still life viewed with a wide angle lens; it takes in not only an object on a table, in this case a vase of flowers, but also the spatial context within which the object is shown. The frame for this work was designed by Hockney as an integral part of the piece. Its asymmetrical geometry enhances the perceived depth of the composition. This asymmetrical frame is unusually clever, but this isn't the kicker. One of the two chairs is set in the lower right corner of the image and three of its legs are painted on the frame, outside the picture proper, thereby entering into the viewer's space -the interior space within which the work is displayed. There are many other brilliant treatments of Interior Spaces in this show, and all are much more than mere renderings.
Lee Spiro, Director