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Exhibition explores the inverse of the landscape: The interior
Becky Suss (American, b. 1980). Living Room (six paintings, four plates), 2015. Oil on canvas, 84 x 108 in (213.36 x 274.32 cm). © Becky Suss. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA.- The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia presents In My Room: Artists Paint the Interior 1950-Now, May 18-Sept. 30, 2018. The exhibition looks at the inverse of the landscape: the interior.

Landscape painting, a common genre in western painting, is understood as a window onto the world thanks to artist and theorist Leon Battista Alberti and his ideas about the picture plane known as Alberti’s Window. After the Industrial Revolution, however, modern art erupted with the interior. Notably, modern artists began depicting windows into other rooms instead of painting views of the outside world.

“The interior space has an ability to prompt the viewer to ask questions and to view a space with new perspective,” said Matthew McLendon, director and chief curator of the Fralin Museum of Art. “In an untitled work by Alex Katz, for example, a bed in disarray invites the questions whether someone has left in a rush, to where and why? Interior with Doorway by Richard Diebenkorn uses light and shadow in juxtaposition creating a sculptural feel to everyday objects.”

Artists continued to paint indoor spaces throughout the 20th century for a variety of psychological, interpersonal and biographical reasons. Architecture, design and the still-life inform the paintings in this exhibition, as does the persistent theme of the artist’s studio. The exhibition raises myriad questions upon which to reflect and will address how representations of interior spaces have changed and evolved over time. Also of interest is the question of whether social and political events in the world at large affect representations of a space, or whether the presentation of space is more indicative of the artist’s mind or state-of-mind.

“Interior spaces, unpeopled, allow us to imagine our own physical bodies in the space,” said Rebecca Schoenthal, exhibition co-curator. “We are allowed an opportunity to have both an emotional and intellectual response while looking at the space; perhaps revealing more about the viewer than the painter.”

The exhibition is co-curated by Rebecca Schoenthal, Ph.D., and Ryan Steadman, former art critic at the New York Observer and visual artist. The exhibition will be comprised of loaned paintings and a selection of works from the Fralin Museum of Art collection, and will be accompanied by a booklet with essays by the curators and reproductions of select images.

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