Barbara Schwartz: Dispersions

March 10 through April 24, 1988

This exhibition has been supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment of the Arts, a Federal agency.

Dispersions can be viewed as a delicate synthesis of painting and sculpture. Claiming to be neither a painter nor a sculptor primarily, Barbara Schwartz skillfully balances each of these disciplines. The relief paintings communicate emotion, movement, and content through a sensual range of colors, the painterly inclinations of the brushstroke, and the expressionistic quality of the textured surfaces. Schwartz inspires the viewer to participate actively in each piece. She encourages us to move across the frontal plane, propelled by the inherent energy and optical and physical flow of the work. Inspired by the gestures and costumes of Thai dancing, Schwartz has transformed her inanimate forms into animated dances. There is in these works a sense of elegance and a graceful ease which harks back to those views of the ballet painted by Edgar Degas. Like the earlier master’s paintings, Schwartz’s work is also based on a strong formalistic sense, expressed in her carefully manipulated compositions, which contrast with the organic nature of her forms and her design.

Dissatisfied with oil on canvas, which she used in the early seventies, Schwartz has extended her range to include handmade papers. Stretching this paper over wire mesh, like a painter stretches a canvas over an armature, she has developed a unique working surface which is both contemporary as well as art historical. Paper, revered highly in Asian art, is, according to Schwartz, “a very underrated material, which is more expressionistic than a canvas,” and more accepting of the watercolors and dry pigments that she uses to color their surfaces, Schwartz cuts the wire mesh in geometrically inspired shapes, most often the triangle, and submerges them in paper pulp. Once dry, her paper-covered forms become three-dimensional working surfaces. She then thoughtfully paints each side, synthesizing a tension between the organic flow and the geometry of the shaped surfaces.

The five pieces here were created especially for the Morris Gallery. These site specific works have allowed Schwartz to explore new visual effects. For the first time, shapes are laid flat to the wall, contrasting with her earlier work which projected from the same surface.

Kevin J. Conallen

Checklist
All works courtesy of Hirschl & Adler Galleries

Dispersions PAFA I (31 elements), 1987-88
Watercolor and acrylic on handmade paper over wire mesh screen
9-1/2′ diameter x 2′ deep

Dispersions PAFA II (6 elements), 1987-88
Dry pigments and acrylic on handmade paper over wire mesh screen
6′ high x 5’2 ” wide x 18-1/2″ deep

Dispersions PAFA III (41 elements), 1987-88
Watercolor and acrylic on handmade paper, over wire mesh screen
28′ long x 7′ 3″ high x 2′ deep

Dispersions XII (10 elements), 1982
Powdered pigment and casein on handmade paper over wire mesh screen
Dimensions variable, approximately 12′ 1″ wide x 4′ high x 20″ deep

Dispersions JABI (7 elements), 1986
Acrylic and modeling paste on handmade paper over wire mesh screen
58″ high x 48″ wide x 18″ deep

Barbara Schwartz, born in Philadelphia in 1948, has lived and worked in New York City since the 1970s. She is a graduate of Girls High School, Philadelphia. Schwartz received her B.FA. from Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1970, and also studied at the Cit” des Arts in Paris, France. Her work is represented in many private collections and in such public collections as Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo, New York; Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; and Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City. Among her commissioned work is Marina Square Dispersions, at Marina Square in Singapore.

Selected Individual Exhibitions
1979
Willard Gallery, New York, NY

1980
Dart Gallery, Chicago, IL
Hewlett Gallery, Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA

1981
Willard Gallery, New York, NY

1982
Linda Farris Gallery, Seattle, WA

1983
Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, NY

1984
Dart Gallery, Chicago, IL

1987
Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, NY
David Heath Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Gloria Luria Gallery, Miami, FL

Selected Group Exhibitions
1975
Whitney Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art, New York, NY

1977
Collection in Progress, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA

1978
Constructions, Organization of Independent Artists, New York, NY

1979
Whitney Biennial Exhibition of Contemporary Art, New York, NY

Ten Artists/Artists Space, Neuberger Museum, Purchase, NY

1980
With Paper, About Paper, Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY

Delahunty Gallery, Dallas, TX

Painting and Sculpture Today 1980, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN

Three Dimensional Paintings, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

1981
Between Painting and Sculpture, Pam Adler Gallery, New York, NY

Jumping Off the Wall: 3-D Painting, Tyler School of Art, Temple of Independent Artists, New York, NY

1982
Energie New York, ELAC Centre d’Echanges, Lyon, France

1983
Artist/Critic, White Columns, New York, NY

1984
American Women Artists, Part II, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY

Banner, Bolts and Bags: Work from the Fabric Workshop, CIGNA Corporation, Philadelphia, PA

1985
Recent Acquisitions, The Solomon Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY

Adornments, Bernice Steinbaum Gallery, New York, NY

1986
Group Show, Lisbeth Lipps Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland

Fifty Year Anniversary, Part II, Willard Gallery, New York, NY

1987
Alternative Supports: Contemporary Sculpture on the Wall, Bell Art Gallery, Brown University, Providence, RI

Group Show, Lisbeth Lipps Gallery, Amsterdam, Holland

The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling, or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel, and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Moe Brooker, Paolo Colombo, Bill Freeland, Faith Ginsburg, Carrie Rickey, Eileen Rosenau, Judith Tannenbaum; Academy staff Judith Stein, Morris Gallery Coordinator, Frank H. Goodyear,Jr. and Linda Bantel.

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