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Ellsworth Kelly, "Black Curve", 1999, Lithograph on Rives BFK, Edition of 35
© Ellsworth Kelly and Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles

Oct. 22, 2021

Ellsworth Kelly

February 12 - May 14, 2016

A collection of more than 20 print editions by renowned artist Ellsworth Kelly, has been organized by Michele C. Quinn for the Barrick Museum INNER GALLERY. Kelly was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker who created works of cleanly juxtaposed colors and shapes and is largely considered to be one of the leading abstract artists of the postwar period. The minimal quality of his works should not be confused with being simplistic. The artist discovered a way to translate what he observed -- a shadow on a wall, a curve of a hill, of the space between buildings -- into paintings that drew from reality but became abstractions. Kelly was not interested in assigning meaning to his works but preferred to create shapes and colors so intense that they are like three-dimensional objects. All of the works in this exhibition were created during the last two decades of his collaboration with Gemini G.E.L, the now-legendary print workshop located in Los Angeles. 

Kelly’s history with printmaking dates as far back as 1949 while he lived and worked in Paris. He explored screenprinting methods and intaglio, but his affinity was for lithography. He collaborated with only a handful of printmaking workshops in his lifetime. His collaboration with Gemini G.E.L resulted in over 260 unique print editions dating from 1970 to 2006. The artist’s love of printmaking and the importance it plays in the entire oeuvre of his work can be felt in the level of detail, the particularities of form, and the saturation of color. The repetitive nature of the printmaking process allowed Kelly to reshuffle basic shapes in a range of colors while maintaining cohesion throughout the suite.

About Ellsworth Kelly

American artist Ellsworth Kelly (1923 - 2015) is recognized as one of the most important abstraction artists. Born in Newburgh, New York, Kelly studied at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn until he was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of twenty. From 1948 through 1954, he lived in France, teaching, traveling and studying both art and architecture. French abstraction greatly influenced him as a young artist. His style changed drastically, he abandoned figuration and easel painting, choosing to develop simple geometric shapes of pure, vibrant color. Returning to New York, Kelly established his critical reputation in the 1960s.

TALK - Printmaking with Ellsworth: A Conversation with Erik Beehn

March 16, 6 - 7pm 


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