Gary Snyder Gallery is pleased to announce Al Loving: Torn Canvas, an exhibition of mixed media constructions and works on paper at 529 West 20th Street. Opening on November 1, 2012, the exhibition is Loving's first since his death in 2005. Five of the artist's monumentally scaled, dyed and torn fabric wallhangings will be on view, as well as a selection of handmade paper collages, many of which have never before been exhibited. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition, with an essay by Katy Siegel.
The exhibition and its accompanying publication provide an in-depth look at the artist’s work from 1973 to 1985—sweeping expanses of richly colored cut and sewn fabric suspended on the wall. Works in the exhibition such as Self-Portrait #23 (c. 1973) illustrate the uniqueness and sheer dynamism of Loving's work from this period. Disenchanted with his earlier, hard-edge geometric paintings, the artist dispensed with notions of centralized composition, figure/ground separation, and pictorial frame. In works like Self- Portait #23, Loving combined literally hundreds of pieces of torn fabric into an abundance of overlapping patterns and shapes. Their rich and intuitive array of colors stretches irregularly, extending to the floor, encompassing the surrounding space, and engulfing the viewer.
Born in Detroit in 1935, Al Loving studied painting at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1968, Loving relocated to New York, where he found himself among a milieu that included artists Robert Duran, Alan Shields, Richard Van Buren, and the dancer and choreographer Batya Zamir. A year later, in 1969, Loving famously became the first African-American to have a one-person show at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Throughout his career, Loving had solo exhibitions at many well-known institutions, including: Gertrude Kasle Gallery (1969, 1970, Detroit), William Zierler, Inc. (1971, 1972, 1973, New York), Fischbach Gallery (1974, 1976, New York), The Studio Museum in Harlem (1977, 1986, New York), Diane Brewer Gallery (1980, 1983, New York), June Kelly Gallery (1988, 1990, 1992, New York), the Neuberger Museum of Art (1998, Purchase, New York), and Kenkeleba House (2005, New York). His work was also featured in many important group exhibitions, such as L’art vivant aux États-Unis (1970, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul, France), Contemporary Black Artists in America (1971, Whitney Museum of American Art), Lamp Black: Afro-American Artists, New York and Boston (1973, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston), Another Generation (1979, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York), Afro-American Abstraction (1981, P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Queens), and The Appropriate Object (1989, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo), among others.
Most recently, Loving's work appeared in The Chemistry of Color: African-American Artists in Philadelphia, 1970–1990 (2005, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia), Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964–1980 (2006, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York), High Times, Hard Times: New York Painting, 1967–1975 (2006, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro), and Target Practice: Painting Under Attack, 1949–1978 (2009, Seattle Art Museum).
Loving's work is featured in the collections of major museums around the country, including: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas; the Detroit Institute of Arts; the Empire State Plaza Art Collection, Albany; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Gary Snyder Gallery is pleased to represent the Estate of Al Loving.