Mark Tobey: Threading Light | ITSLIQUID

Mark Tobey: Threading Light

Art | June 26, 2017 |

Mark Tobey: Threading Light_001Image courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection

Mark Tobey: Threading Light
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
From 6 May to 10 September 2017

 

Mark Tobey: Threading Light is the first comprehensive retrospective of the American artist’s work in twenty years in Europe, and the first in Italy. Opening May 6, 2017, at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, the exhibition traces the evolution of the artist’s groundbreaking style and his significant yet under-recognized contributions to abstraction and mid-century American modernism. With 66 paintings spanning the 1920s through 1970, Mark Tobey: Threading Light surveys the breadth of Tobey’s oeuvre and reveals the extraordinarily nuanced yet radical beauty of his work.

 

Mark Tobey: Threading Light_002Image courtesy of The Menil Collection, Houston, Gift of Solomon Byron Smith and Barbara Neff Smith 

 

One of the foremost American artists to emerge from the 1940s, a decade that saw the rise of abstract expressionism, Mark Tobey (1890–1976) is recognized as a vanguard figure whose “white-writing” anticipated the formal innovations of New York School artists such as Jackson Pollock. When Tobey’s small paintings composed of intricate, pale webs of delicate lines were first exhibited in New York in 1944, they generated much interest for their daring “all-over” compositions. His unique calligraphic renderings largely invoke the city—its dizzying, towering architecture, thoroughfares, and pervasive whirl of electric light.

 

Mark Tobey: Threading Light_003Image courtesy of Galerie Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, Paris

 

As the New York School emerged in the aftermath of World War II, Tobey was only marginally integrated into the movement because he was averse to the cultural nationalism and “American-ness” of the rhetoric imposed on its paintings. Unlike the brasher, more aggressive pictorial statements of Jackson Pollock and others, Tobey’s quiet, inward-directed work could not easily be folded into the new critical discourse intent on the formulation of a national identity for American art. Tobey rejected scale and monumentality to create “microscopicworlds and intimate compositions, based on an intense observation of nature, the city, and the flow of light. His signature “white writing” or labyrinths of interconnected marks and lines evoked the spiritual.

 

Mark Tobey: Threading Light_004Image courtesy of Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, Bequest of Edward Wales Root

 

While he had always led a nomadic life, Tobey spent more time in Paris during the 1950s, and in 1960 he made his home in Basel, Switzerland where he set up a studio. He participated in numerous international exhibitions, and in 1958 he was awarded the City of Venice Prize at the Venice Biennale. During the last phase of his life, Tobey enlarged the scale of his painting, producing epic works that expanded on his signature concept of “white writing.” Like the inventive features of his earlier works, these larger canvases extend an aesthetic of transcendence and ethereality.

 

Mark Tobey: Threading Light_005Image courtesy of Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of the Joseph H. Hirshhorn Foundation

 

As Tobey stated, his work was not bound by a geography or a country but aimed for a “higher state of consciousness.” Innovative and distinct in its influences and beauty, Tobey’s work bridges the international dimensions of midcentury modernism, a connection that has been previously unexplored in the discourse on postwar art. Mark Tobey: Threading Light re-examines and re-contextualizes the work and influence of this important painter, weaving in the rich but occluded histories of the global intersections of late modern art that have evaded many of the interpreters of culture in United States.

 

more. guggenheim-venice.it

Are you an artist, architect, designer? Would you like to be featured on ITSLIQUID platform? Send an e-mail to info@itsliquid.com or fill the form below

RELATED POSTS


New Display for the Collections

Art | July 19, 2019

The Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris exhibits a unique selection of approximately fifty haute couture designs throughout its entire exhibition space. Read more


Camp Adventure Park by EFFEKT

Architecture | July 18, 2019

Camp Adventure Park creates a unique opportunity to take a walk above the treetops and experience the stunning nature of the preserved forest from another perspective. Read more


London Design Festival

Design | July 11, 2019

London Design Festival returns to the capital for its 17th year this September 2019 with an inspiring programme of events and installations across the city. This year also marks 11 years with the V&A as a collaborating partner and the official Festival hub. During the Festival, the world's leading museum of art, design and performance will once again play host to a series of specially-commissioned projects by internationally-renowned designers. Read more


Basquiat’s “Defacement”: The Untold Story

Art | July 11, 2019

From June 21 to November 6, 2019, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum will present Basquiat's "Defacement": The Untold Story. This focused, thematic exhibition of work by Jean-Michel Basquiat (American, 1960-1988), supplemented with work by others of his generation, will explore a formative chapter in the artist's career through the lens of his identity and the role of cultural activism in New York City during the early 1980s. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!