Gallery Diet is pleased to present a four person exhibition with Betty Woodman, Charlie Woodman, Francesca Woodman, and George Woodman. This will be the second time that the four members of this extraordinarily influential American family of artists have exhibited together.
Betty Woodman is Internationally recognized as one of today’s most important sculptors using ceramics, since the 1950′s she has worked to challenge traditional notions of form and materiality through her manipulations of the material. Charlie Woodman has been working in the field of Electronic Art for more than twenty years creating works of sound, video, and interactive projects that blend live music with video projection. Francesca Woodman is best known for photographic works often using herself as the subject, her sophisticated images of the body are referenced by countless artists working with performance, photography and the body. George Woodman has worked in a variety of media including painting and sculpture, his current work focuses on photography, and photographs with paint on them.
This exhibition presents the prodigious output of the talented Woodman family––parents George and Betty, son Charlie, and daughter Francesca, who committed suicide at the age of twenty-two and is arguably the most famous. Rather than underscoring the familial, the assemblage of work here shifts the discussion to the formal, specifically each artist’s penchant for troubling medium-specificity. For instance, Betty’s freestanding ceramic pieces function as both paintings and sculptures. Rendered on the upright, flat side of the two fragmented pieces of Spring in Athens, 2011, is a Greek black-figure vase filled with flowers painted in vivid greens, reds, and purples; the obverses of these flat surfaces elegantly morph into sculptural ceramic vases that are just as bold. Charles’s Table of Elements, 2012, is a digital video loop playing on two side-by-side displays that blur the line between painting and film. Each channel presents the same natural scene from slightly different vantage points—the movement of clouds, for example, is shown slightly sped up, creating the feel of a moving John Constable cloud painting.
George’s black-and-white photographs of nude women are often embellished with oil paint, usually sparingly. In Shanti: In the Mirror with a Mirror, 2006, bands of green, yellow, and red echo some of his early paintings exploring color. In Francesca’s two self-portraits, each known as Untitled (New York), 1979–80, her celebrated use of long exposure creates a tension between stillness and movement that has often been described as a marker of the artist’s emotional state. Indeed, Francesca’s suicide often haunts the critical discourse on her work and also on that of her family, particularly George’s; clearly, biography remains a powerful lens through which the art world gauges an artist’s—and in this case a family’s—output. This exhibition, however, suggests readings that, while not necessarily divorced from authorship, are also not intimately tied to it.