Vija Celmins: "Intense Realism"
December 12, 2014–May 10, 2015
Gallery 321



©Vija Celmins
Printmaking and drawing have been an important part of Vija Celmins's art-making vocabulary throughout her career. This exhibition will include a range of work by the Latvian-born American artist (b. 1938), including an early expressionist-inspired drawing, Night Forms (right), and several of her abstracted yet highly detailed prints.

Celmins is known for the concentrated images of nature she has been making since the late 1960s. They are tightly cropped views that bring intense focus on the ocean, the night sky, or spider webs. This may appear to be a curious trio of subjects, but what all these works have in common—even the early drawing—is a fascination with the visual dialogue between the physicality of the image and the depicted subject.

The exhibition will highlight the varied techniques she has used–a dense mixture of gouache, charcoal, and acrylic for the drawing, and a surprisingly broad range of print media including lithography, linocut, wood engraving, and mezzotint. Celmins's work provides an exploration of what it means to be an "intensely realist" landscape artist nearly a century after the publication of the Hudson River Portfolio on view in the exhibition Scenic Wonder: An Early American Journey Down the Hudson River.

Vija Celmins: "Intense Realism" is curated by Elizabeth Wyckoff, the Saint Louis Art Museum's curator of prints, drawings, and photographs and Leah Chizek, research assistant in prints, drawings, and photographs.