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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents Richard Aldrich's First Solo Museum Show
Richard Aldrich, Untitled, 2010; oil and wax on panel; 15 x 11 in.; collection of Amy and Harris Schwalb; © Richard Aldrich. Images courtesy Bortolami Gallery, New York, New York.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Through March 25, 2012, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presents New Work: Richard Aldrich, the first museum exhibition to feature work exclusively by Richard Aldrich. The presentation brings together an array of new paintings by the New York–based artist anchored by a selection of earlier pieces that show the diversity of his work and the expansive possibilities of painting itself. Organized by Gary Garrels, SFMOMA Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture, the exhibition continues the museum's New Work series dedicated to featuring the most innovative expressions of contemporary art.

Aldrich pursues an open-ended exploration of painting and uses its fundamental elements—canvas, stretcher bars, paint—to interrogate and celebrate the intellectual and sensual conundrums of the art form. Deeply aware of the historical precedents of abstract painting, he sometimes evokes images and memories, while at other times uses the elements of painting to their own ends. Inherent throughout his work are issues of perception and understanding, explorations of the immediacy of the present moment grounded in language and past experience.

The presentation at SFMOMA includes some 14 works of both small, intimate panels and larger canvases that range from resolutely abstract to hints of representation, minimalist to richly colorful and painterly. Aldrich's works incorporate paint, collage, and found objects, claiming everything within the boundaries of the canvas as the territory of painting. His range in painting reveals an ongoing effort to understand his relationship to the history of painting as well as to the act of painting, resulting in a body of work that extends tradition but remains distinctly personal.

"Aldrich reinvents and extends our understanding of painting—a medium and form of art that has often been fundamentally challenged over the past hundred years—as a vital medium for contemporary art," says Garrels.

Aldrich was born in 1975 in Hampton, Virginia, and received his BFA from Ohio State University in 1998. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work was featured at The Saint Louis Art Museum (2011) and the 2010 Whitney Biennial and has shown in Europe and the United States at institutions including White Columns, New York; Midway Contemporary Art Center, Minneapolis; Palais De Tokyo, Paris; and P.S.1 Center for Contemporary Art, Long Island City, New York, among many others.

A free illustrated brochure has been produced in conjunction with this exhibition, featuring images of Aldrich's work and an extended interview with the artist.

From its inception in 1987, SFMOMA's New Work series was conceived as a means to feature the most innovative expressions of contemporary art. Artists such as Matthew Barney, Marilyn Minter, and Christopher Wool were given their first solo museum exhibitions through the program, establishing the series as an important vehicle for the advancement of new art forms. Over the ensuing decade, New Work featured artists such as Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Tatsuo Miyajima, Doris Salcedo, Luc Tuymans, Kara Walker, and Andrea Zittel, among many others. After a four-year hiatus, SFMOMA reintroduced the New Work series in 2004 and has since showcased work by Phil Collins, Rachel Harrison, Wengechi Mutu, Felix Schramm, Paul Sietsema, Lucy McKenzie, Mai-Thu Perret, Ranjani Shettar, Vincent Fecteau, Mika Rottenberg, R. H. Quaytman, and Anna Parkina.

The New Work series is organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and is generously supported by Collectors Forum, the founding patron of the series. Major funding is also provided by The Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation and Robin Wright and Ian Reeves.

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