To see the full inventory for this show, please go to Wendy Artin's artist page.
Wendy Artin, NYC Marilyn Innocent, 24”x41”, 2017
WENDY ARTIN - HERE TODAY
Athens, Rome, Paris, London, New York
Watercolor Wallscapes and other Recent Work
November 3 – December 10, 2017
Gurari Collections’ November exhibition, WENDY ARTIN - HERE TODAY - Athens, Rome, Paris, London, New York, features vibrant, spirited paintings of fugitive urban walls by virtuoso watercolorist Wendy Artin.
Beautifully stained stencils, torn posters, printouts, spray-painted marks, drips, cracks, rust, hinges, beloved faces peering out of flat walls: these urban accumulations occur in many streets in many cities. We often walk by oblivious to their accidental beauty—but with her forty-plus watercolor paintings of captivating wallscapes, Artin invites us to pause and contemplate the ephemeral, the vulnerable, the fragile.
In large, medium, and small-scale format, Artin’s wallscapes will be on display until December 10, together with a selection of blossoming branches and quick figure paintings.
Wendy Artin, Big Pile of Wall Paintings, June 2017
“These are walls that I love to look at and take detours to see again,” says Artin. “Unlike the bas-reliefs from antiquity that I have painted in the past, they will disappear in a matter of months. Like a wild garden, they have no one designer, no master architect. I have taken some liberties moving things around and swapping out certain images, but this is basically how the real walls were as I stood in front of them.
Wendy Artin, Paris On Danse, 9”x12”, 2017 - Athens Motorcycle, 9”x12”, 2017 - Rome Cinema America, 7”x10"
“I try to make the paintings both elegant and clumsy – full of information, but not trompe-l’oeil – in and out of focus, crisp here and watery there. As diverse as faces in a city crowd, there are line drawings, paintings, stencils, photographs — all different ways of portraying people, in all different sizes, like a fairytale. Artistically this gives me freedom to play, to paint in a variety of different ways. I can change the color, the focus; I can allow the watercolor to shine with its full versatility. I can stay right on the edge of illusion, with the image moving back and forth between 2D and 3D: very hand-made paintings of usually machine-generated postings. The layering and different focal points are like improvisational jazz where the sweet themes that you recognize shift and change as you become carried away by the next bit till suddenly there is a new tune, a new picture, a new face.
Wendy Artin, London Blue Amy, 9”x12”, 2017
Many of the walls have images of famous people who died too young: Amy Winehouse, John Lennon, David Bowie, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Muhammed Ali. They are posted or painted in order to remember, to have the people live on, but they are so temporary — pasted paper, stencils! There is something quite touching about the fragility of these pieces of paper that are trying to prolong the too short lives of these idols.“ Fleeting lives, fleeting images — along with the well-known icons are glimpses of Artin’s husband, Bruno Boschin, who died in 2014.
Wendy Artin, NYC Muhammed Ali, John and Yoko, 26”x41”, 2017
Paradoxically, it was Artin’s trip to Athens to see the Parthenon frieze at the new Acropolis Museum that began this new series. On her way to visit the famous sculptures she doubled back to admire a fragment of a wall, with Greek graffiti and a tiny Madonna stencil. The urge to put faces on facades reaches back in time and across cultures – but is their purpose similar?
And in today’s fast traveling world, is there a difference between the walls of different countries? “In Rome, it is almost as though it is just one polite person posting, since there is a respectful space around each image,” Artin notes. “In Paris, there are often images of scantily clad seductive women. In New York, the walls have an irresistible ME FIRST! energy, chaotic layers covering up earlier offerings. Why are they here? Was someone randomly standing by that wall, looking at a magazine, when it occurred to him to cut out and paste up photos of his favorite cars? Did he do it with foresight, intention, a message, a mission? Where did he get the glue? I am interested in what the people who posted were thinking, but even more I am interested in the ultimate combination of different layers and messages and images—the sheer visual joy of marks on a wall that I have sought to translate into marks on a page.”
Artin’s paintings are time capsules and travel pieces. Viewed from one angle, they tell stories that draw you in and want to be completed, and from another become pure dynamism and raw beauty. The mix is dizzying and mysterious like city life seen for the first time.
Wendy Artin, Oleander, 7”x9”, 2016
Artistic Advisor at the American Academy in Rome, Wendy Artin completed her undergraduate studies in French Literature and Painting at the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters of Fine Art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In 2015 she had a solo exhibition, entitled Rocks, Paper, Memory, at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Her paintings are collected by Steve Martin, Eric Fischl, April Gornik, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Isabelle Adjani, Howard Stern, John Guare, Adele Chatfield-Taylor, Pierre Passebon, and Jacques Grange. She has exhibited in New York, Boston, Rome, Milan and Paris. Her work has been featured in Pratique Des Arts, American Artist, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Gourmet, Elle Decoration, Cote Sud, French Vogue, Elle, Carnet, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. She has been featured on BRAVO television's Arts & Minds.
Wendy Artin, Callista, 8”x14”, 2017
We invite you to visit WENDY ARTIN – HERE TODAY: Athens, Rome, Paris, London, New York, Artin’s eleventh solo exhibition at Gurari Collections. The exhibition is in our gallery in the South End of Boston, 460B Harrison Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts, 02118.
Gallery hours are Tuesday - Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sunday 12 - 4 p.m. or by appointment. Telephone: 617.367.9800
Wendy Artin, Rome, Cinema America 2017, photo by Lily Artin Boschin