The Norton Simon Museum
presents Sweets & Treats: Wayne Thiebaud in the Collection of the Norton Simon Museum. This eye-catching exhibition features a selection of twenty-nine prints created by the California artist in the 1960s.
Wayne Thiebaud (b. 1920) is known primarily for his thickly textured, pastel colored paintings depicting pies, cakes, ice cream-cones, and toys. The artworks exhibited in Sweets & Treats, however, present these delectable images in the print medium. In so doing, Thiebaud lets the viewer focus on a delicate balance between figuration and abstraction. Absent the icing-like texture of the paintings, and moving into the realm of multiples (twenty-three of the prints on view are variations on the same etching), Thiebaud strays even further from emphasis on surface, texture, and relief to confront issues of uniformity and difference.
"Thiebaud refers to a "consciousness of simultaneity" and sets up an allegory in which we must consider how alike we are to one another, yet also realize the "little discriminations and little insights" that set us apart as individuals," observes Tom Norris, curatorial assistant at the Norton Simon Museum. "While his paintings magnify these discrepancies, his prints make the viewer focus on the idea that there is a collective consciousness."
Born in Mesa, Arizona, in 1920, Wayne Thiebaud spent most of his childhood in Long Beach, California. He came into artistic maturity during a time of transition between two great art movements: the Abstract Expressionism of the 1940s and 1950s, with its gestural brushstrokes and large-scale canvases, and the Pop Art of the 1960s with its frequent incorporation of banal, everyday objects. Given his subject matter, Thiebaud is most often associated with the latter. Upon closer examination, however, Thiebauds work resides somewhere between both movements, drawing upon the painterly qualities associated with Abstract Expressionism to paint familiar confections.
Sweets & Treats is organized by Tom Norris, Curatorial Assistant, Norton Simon Museum.