Alchemy & Inquiry

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Asidium, Aspenium, Pteris, 2011 © Courtesy of the artist & Wave Hill
Alchemy & Inquiry

West 249th Street and Independence Avenue (front gate)
675 West 252nd Street (mailing)
Bronx, NY 10471-2899
April 3rd, 2011 - June 19th, 2011

other (outside main areas)
Tue-Sun 10-4:30, Wed in Jun/Jul 10-8


Alchemy & Inquiry underscores the sense of transformation and discovery that unites the work of Philip Taaffe, Fred Tomaselli, and Terry Winters, and situates their dynamic energy within the experience of nature. The intuitive joy and optimism that one feels walking through the garden is echoed throughout the three rooms of Glyndor Gallery. The paintings, drawings and prints on view invite extended and repeated looking; collected together in a single exhibition, they promise a sublime experience.

For these artists, making art involves immersion in natural history, science and alchemy, with inspiration ranging from arcane botanical illustrations to birding field guides and complex weather charts. Each has developed an individual approach, internalizing diverse cultural sources while skillfully synthesizing visual, cultural, literary and scientific ideas. Researching, culling and layering lead to work that is original, inspired and influential.

The word “alchemy” in the exhibition title alludes to transformation on many levels: chemical, magical and spiritual. Creative powers are summoned to transform common elements physically and metaphorically into substances of great value. With practices and insights that prefigure many important discoveries in biology, chemistry and physics, alchemy likewise fascinated and continues to fascinate poets and painters, serving as an allegory for the physical manifestation of immaterial spirit. This tradition unites the work of Winters, Tomaselli and Taaffe.

We extend grateful appreciation to Philip Taaffe, Fred Tomaselli and Terry Winters for embracing the garden and landscape and creating new work for Wave Hill. Thanks are also due respectively to Gagosian Gallery, James Cohan Gallery and Matthew Marks Gallery.

A four-color exhibition catalogue with an essay by Peter Lamborn Wilson, and designed by The Grenfell Press, is available.