Marcia Hafif: Glaze Paintings
February 5th-26th, 2011
Opening reception: Saturday, February 5th, 7:00 – 10:00 pm
Fundraising dinner and book release night: Saturday, February 19th, 7:00 pm
Cincinnati, OH—U·turn Art Space is proud to present a solo exhibition of monochrome paintings by Marcia Hafif. Eight works from Hafif’s Glaze Paintings series will be presented in a spacious installation throughout the gallery. February is also a fundraising month for U·turn, with an evening of dinner, book releases and entertainment on February 19th. More information about U·turn’s fundraising efforts to be announced.
Marcia Hafif is a celebrated pioneer of painting’s revival in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1972, her work shifted into the approach to monochrome painting that she continues to explore today. Of this time, Hafif has written, “We pretended in a certain way that we did not know anything about painting. We studied and rediscovered it for ourselves.” This time in painting history has been called the Radical Painting movement. Hafif was one of many artists that began to treat paintings as objects, and took no element in the making and presentation of paintings for granted. Hafif spent years exploring various painting media: oil, acrylic, egg tempera and fresco. She makes her oil paint by grinding pure pigments by hand into linseed oil. The marks she makes with the brush are regulated to a meditative movement, so that the colored surfaces seem to flicker in our perception of them. She has explored how we experience the hue of a pigment by presenting them alone on a canvas, or in other work glazing one pigment across another. Hafif allows each color to express its own nuances.
The Glaze Paintings that will be presented at U·turn are 12-inch square canvases that have been colored with a single pigment across their surface. Using a medium of Damar varnish, turpentine and oil, the different pigments are glazed over a white ground; differences in transparency between pigments give the feeling that the canvases are glowing radiantly.
Hafif states: “The figure had moved off the ground; now the painting itself was a figure on the ground of the world around it.” The experience of this form of painting differs from the traditional experiences of a representational image or even an abstract painting that has been divided geometrically into a composition. These monochrome paintings include the walls and spaces around them in the experience. On the special potential of experiencing a monochrome painting, Hafif notes: “A surface apparently without incident reveals to the artist the impossibility of eliminating it altogether and gives to the viewer the experience of seeming emptiness and the option of dealing with her/himself in that emptiness. What is there when we have taken everything away?”
While the works that comprise this exhibition are paintings on canvas, the artist and the gallery considers this an installation. Hafif designed the exhibition remotely, planning the placement of the works, the height at which they are hung, and what their relationships to the preexisting space will be. The intervals of blank wall between works, and how the white walls and environment are activated by the paintings are of prime importance. Given the sparseness of the installation, the memory of color comes into play: how the experience of one monochrome painting informs the experience of the next of a different hue is a grand experiment. Even distilled to such a small number of variables, this selection of work is rich with visual information.
Hafif was born in Pomona, CA, in 1929. She received a Bachelor of Arts from Pomona College, and an MFA from University of California at Irvine. Hafif’s work is in dozens of public collections throughout the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum fur Konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt; and many others. She has exhibited extensively throughout the world in group and solo exhibitions. Highlights from her numerous accomplishments include multiple NEA Fellowships, a New York State CAPS Grant and exhibitions at PS1, Long Island City, New York; Larry Becker Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Musée d'art moderne et contemporain, Genève, Switzerland; Modem - Centre for Modern and Contemporary Arts, Debrecen, Hungary; Galerie Conrads, Dusseldorf; Kunsthalle Barmen, Wuppertal; FRAC Bourgogne, Dijon, France; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Rupert Walser Gallery, Munich, Germany among others. Her work has been reviewed prominently in ARTnews, the Brooklyn Rail, and Art in America. She lived in Rome from 1961-1969 and moved to New York City in 1971, where she has continued to live and work. She now splits her time between New York and Laguna Beach, CA. For more information about Marcia Hafif, please visit her website.
On February 19th, at 7 pm, the gallery will offer a buffet style benefit dinner to offset the costs of operating the space. The cost will be $10 at the door, and there will be beer available for sale as long as supplies last. More fundraiser information to follow here on the blog and on Facebook.