Virginia Jaramillo, Kay WalkingStick, Mary Webb
1 December 2020 - 27 February 2021
Hales New York, 547 W 20th Street, New York, NY10011
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Hales is delighted to announce Site, a three-person exhibition featuring works by Virginia Jaramillo, Kay WalkingStick and Mary Webb. Site centers on abstractions spanning four decades, which connect to place and space, combining memory, ancestry, culture and antiquity. The artists’ command of color, form and composition embrace a sensitive knowledge of place, expressing the spatial in the surface of the works. Highlighting the organization of the world around us, the works in Site are underpinned by geometry, using the grid as a powerful structural tool.
Virginia Jaramillo (b. El Paso, Texas, USA) has forged a unique voice, experimenting with material and process to pursue her ongoing explorations of space and time in visual terms.
Site exhibits Jaramillo’s 1997 body of work, which examines the ancient city of Teotihuacan, Mexico. Teotihuacan symbolizes and alludes to, “the place where the heavens touch the earth” and “the place where the gods were born.” This place, aligned so precisely with cardinal points and certain star systems, has played a significant role in Jaramillo’s work.
The Teotihuacan works are an in-depth study into the physical and spiritual life of the ruin, focusing on the intricacies of the structures left behind by ancient cultures. Jaramillo looks to ancient cultures to discover what unifies us – drawing upon architecture to see how past societies lived and believed. Made from strands of linen fiber and earth pigments, the works explore watermarking as a means of drawing, structuring layers of pulp to form raised surfaces and geometric lines.
Kay WalkingStick (b. 1935, Syracuse, New York, USA) draws on formal modernist painterly traditions as well as the Native American experience to create works that connect the immediacy of the physical world with the spiritual. Unifying the present with history, her complex works hold tension between representational and abstract imagery. WalkingStick’s paintings represent a knowledge of the earth and its sacred quality.
From the mid-1970s WalkingStick shifted towards abstraction, which coincided with her burgeoning interest into Native American histories and her own heritage. In this critical period, WalkingStick’s work is increasingly geometric and minimalist, and she forms a physical connection to her work. Using her hands to spread a mixture of acrylic paint and saponified wax, the thickly layered surfaces of these paintings are sculptural, creating a cartographic texture of ridges and valleys.
Mary Webb (b. 1939, London, UK) has dedicated her practice to the exploration of complex interplays of colour and geometry. Rooting each work in place, she has the sensibility of a landscapist, drawing inspiration from the places she travels to. At the core of Webb’s work lies the considered relationship between formal elements, rendering the world around her a timeless abstraction.
Webb’s works in Site take their titles from the places she has visited, from Russia to small towns in Portugal. The relationship between colour and place is an ongoing interest for Webb, seeing her artworks as landscapes filtered by her memories, distilling her experiences into blocks of flat pigment. Creating a multitude of subtle iterations, the works have different configurations of squares and rectangles in diagonal compositions.