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


BOCHNER BOETTI FONTANA

Art | September 23, 2020

Curated by Mel Bochner in collaboration with Magazzino Italian Art, This Special Exhibition Examines Parallel Artistic Movements in the 1960s and 1970s in the U.S. and Italy through the artwork of Bochner, Alighiero Boetti, and Lucio Fontana. Cold Spring, NY – August 24, 2020 – This fall, Magazzino Italian Art opens a special exhibition examining the formal, conceptual, and procedural affinities in the work of Mel Bochner, Alighiero Boetti, and Lucio Fontana. Curated by Bochner in collaboration with Magazzino, the exhibition marks the first presentation to consider the American artist’s extensive, yet overlooked, engagement with the practices of Fontana and Boetti, as well as with Italian art at large. Bochner Boetti Fontana offers, through the artist’s perspective, a number of resonances between his work and that of the Italian and Italian-Argentine artists: an exploration of systems, language, and materials; and a sense of irony and humor, often and especially shared by Arte Povera and Conceptualism, as all these works opened the work of art onto the space of display. Read more


UNTITLED, 2020. THREE PERSPECTIVES ON…

Art | September 20, 2020

Punta della Dogana presents the collective exhibition 'Untitled, 2020. Three perspectives on the art of the present', conceived and curated by Caroline Bourgeois, artist and art historian Muna El Fituri and artist Thomas Houseago. Conceived specifically for the spaces of Punta della Dogana, ‘Untitled, 2020. Three perspectives on the art of the present’ is the fruit of discussion and dialogue between the three curators, who are linked by longstanding personal and professional relationships. Read more


Taoyuan Museum of Art by…

Architecture | September 19, 2020

Taoyuan Museum of Art is a new 29,000 m² cultural institution and public space located next to the main airport in Taoyuan city. The museum designed in collaboration with JJP Architects & Planners and TOPOTEK 1 draws inspiration from the city's peach flower symbol and will include a remarkable ‘Avatar’ public space that is attractive and lively for all to enjoy. Taoyuan Museum of Art is a new 29,000 m² cultural institution and public space located next to the main airport in Taoyuan city. Read more


HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON. LE GRAND JEU

Art | September 19, 2020

Palazzo Grassi presents 'Henri Cartier-Bresson. Le Grand Jeu', co-organised with the Bibliothèque nationale de France and in collaboration with the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson. The exhibition is a unique project based on the Master Collection created in 1973 by Cartier-Bresson at the request of his art collector friends Dominique and John de Menil, for which the photographer carefully selected the 385 best images from his contact sheets. Six sets of this extraordinary collection of the photographer’s work were printed and are conserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the University of Fine Arts in Osaka, the Bibliothèque nationale de France, the Menil Collection in Houston as well as at the Pinault Collection and at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson. Read more


Sign up for our Newsletter.

Enter your email to receive our latest updates!