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Pace Gallery opens the first exhibition of works by Richard Pousette-Dart in London
Richard Pousette-Dart, Untitled, circa 1940’s. Watercolor gouache, and ink on paper 5-3/4” × 8-3/4” (14.6 cm × 22.2 cm). © Estate of Richard Pousette-Dart / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy Pace Gallery.

LONDON.- Pace Gallery presents the first exhibition of works by Richard Pousette-Dart in London. Organized with the Pousette-Dart Estate, Richard Pousette-Dart: Works 1940-1992 will be on view from 18 January 2019 to 20 February 2019. Pace’s exhibition in London follows Richard Pousette-Dart: Beginnings, at Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge which is on view until 6 January 2019. Pace’s exhibition will reveal a selection of never seen works on paper from the 1940s.

Richard Pousette-Dart was the youngest member of the first generation of Abstract Expressionists; the artist, along with several of his important contemporaries, took part in the formative meeting of Studio 35 and is included in the iconic Irascibles photograph. In 1951, Pousette-Dart moved with his young family to Rockland County where a small artistic community had formed. This meant that although he was an influential member of the New York school his remove allowed him to continue to develop and maintain a unique methodology and style. The artist’s relative longevity provided him the time to expand upon his earlier work, developing a mature body of work rooted in his mysticism, symbolism, and spiritual beliefs. As Philip Rylands, Director Emeritus of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection states, in the catalogue which will accompany the exhibition, “He engaged with one of the highest aspirations of the twentieth-century avant-garde: to paint a dimension inaccessible to photography. Others painted the fourth dimension, states of mind, consciousness per se, swift motion, or the passing of time, but Pousette-Dart painted the world of the spirit.”

The exhibition will span Pousette-Dart’s career, featuring a selection of fourteen paintings dating from 1943 to 1992, as well as works on paper from the 1940s exhibited for the first time. The works on view illuminate the artist’s development from his early work through his later presences paintings.

Pousette-Dart’s paintings display his painterly gifts in a wide range of techniques using brush, palette knife and paint squeezed directly from the tube. The uniqueness of each work illustrates the painter’s claim that, “every painting is a new experience and departure into the unknown.”

From the 1960s on, Pousette-Dart began creating paintings with “points” of paint rather than gestural lines and strokes. Some canvases are built up with heavy impasto and display a strong physicality, while other paintings are more thinly layered and more focused on colour and light. Later works such as Presence, Blue Amaranth and Imploding Black appear at first glance to be monochromatic visual fields, however, wide spectrums of colour emerge subtly through the points of white.

The constellation of gestures in Pousette-Dart’s paintings produced what he viewed as the works’ potential for transcendence. He wrote, “Art reveals the significant life, beauty of all forms—it uplifts, transforms it into the exalted realm of reality wherein its pure contemplative poetic being takes place—wherein art’s transcendental language of form, spirit, harmony means one universal eternal presence.”

Richard Pousette-Dart (1916–1992) was a pioneer of the New York School. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota, he grew up in Westchester County, New York, part of a family immersed in the arts. Living in Manhattan during the 1930s and 1940s, Pousette-Dart was the first of the New York School painters to create a mural-sized work, in 1941–42. He participated in the pivotal Subjects of the Artists and Studio 35 groups and was featured with key Abstract Expressionists in the iconic “The Irascibles” photograph taken in 1950 by Nina Leen. Pousette-Dart relocated to Sloatsburg, New York, in 1951, and resided in Suffern, New York, after 1958. Pousette-Dart taught at the New School of Social Research, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College, the Art Students League and Bard College, his students include Saul Leiter, Ai Weiwei and Christopher Wool. Pousette-Dart’s work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1963, 1974, 1998); a widely touring show organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1969); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1997); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice (2007); The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2010); Luhring Augustine, New York (2011); Philadelphia Museum of Art (2014); and The Drawing Center, New York (2015). During Pousette-Dart’s lifetime his work was exhibited in the Whitney Annual and Biennial exhibitions seventeen times, the Art Institute of Chicago Annual exhibition five times and the Carnegie International twice. Other important group exhibitions include the Venice Biennale (1948, 1982); Abstract Painting and Sculpture in America, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1951); and Documenta II (1959). Pousette-Dart’s work has been discussed and reappraised by art historians and artists, among them Alex Bacon, Britta Buhlmann, Charles H. Duncan, Robert Hobbs, Sam Hunter, Hilton Kramer, Donald Kuspit, James K. Monte, Stephen Polcari, Joanna Pousette-Dart, Carter Ratcliff, Barbara Rose, Lowery Stokes Sims, Roberta Smith, Robert Storr and Christopher Wool. Pace has represented Richard Pousette-Dart since 2013. This is the third exhibition of his work at Pace.

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