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Ellsworth Kelly Plant Lithographs at Hood Museum
Ellsworth Kelly, Calla Lily III, 1983-85, Lithograph, 36 x 25 inches, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Gift of William and Marilyn Crawford.

HANOVER, NH.- The complete plant lithograph series of Ellsworth Kelly will be on view at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, from June 18 through August 28, 2005. Drawn from Nature: The Plant Lithographs of Ellsworth Kelly documents the artist's forty years of creating a rich variety of line drawings of plants, fruits, and flowers with exceptional simplicity and beauty. An American artist of world renown, Ellsworth Kelly, born in 1923, is distinguished for his pure minimalist style. The sixty lithographs featured in this exhibition provide a critical link to the artist's vision of nature and his practice of abstraction.

Kelly has occupied the center stage of modernism for more than half a century. While working in Paris in the 1950s and following his return to New York, Kelly created a new abstract style that combined pure color and emphatic shape, while remaining rooted in the natural world. Without trying to depict reality or tell stories, he nevertheless wished to provide viewers with a joyful and meditative art that celebrated the sensuous character of perceptual experience. Kelly's art is grounded in his visual observations, often emerging from chance encounters, of shapes in nature that he finds compelling. His art is a distillation of these experiences.

Kelly has consistently returned to nature as a subject throughout his extraordinary career. He began making prints in 1964; at this time he created also his first plant lithographs. To date Kelly has produced seventy-two plant lithographs in five major series as well as fourteen individual works. The series organize this exhibition: Suite of Plant Lithographs (1964-66), Leaves (1973-74), Twelve Leaves (1978), Series of Plant and Flower Lithographs (1983-85), and Series of Oak Leaves (1992).

Kelly's extensive work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, including a show at the Whitney Museum of American Art and a retrospective exhibition organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, that traveled internationally. In 2000, Kelly was awarded the Praemium Imperial, Japan's lifetime achievement award given in recognition of the artist's international impact on the creative arts.

The opening event on Friday, June 24, will feature a lecture at 4:30 p.m. in the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium by Toby Kamps, Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of Art. A reception will follow in Kim Gallery.

This exhibition was organized by the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The prints are drawn entirely from the permanent collection of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Its presentation at the Hood Museum of Art is generously funded by the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition and is available in the Hood Museum of Art Shop.

Traveling Venues - Following its display at the Hood Museum of Art, Drawn from Nature will travel to the Tate Gallery, St. Ives, England (January 27-May 7, 2006); AXA Gallery, New York (June 7-August 14, 2006); and Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo, Seville, Spain (September 21, 2006-January 1, 2007).

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