David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to present The Japan Drawings, an exhibition of works on paper by Mary Weatherford. The show will be on view November 7 through December 19, 2020 in the gallery’s newest exhibition space, part of the recent expansion of its Edgewood Place location. David Kordansky Gallery is currently open by appointment. Timed reservations and virtual visits are available here.
The Japan Drawings brings together four groups of works—all shellac ink drawings on Gampi Torinoko—that Weatherford produced during a 2019 residency at Troedsson Villa in Nikko, Japan. While a selection of these drawings was presented in the gallery’s Online Viewing Room in May 2020, this physical exhibition allows viewers to appreciate the full scope of the project, as well as both the intimacy and materiality of the individual works and their many moods and impressions.
The residency at Troedsson Villa, founded by artist Anne Eastman in 2015, provides immersion in a unique setting where notable examples of ancient and modern architecture (including famous shrines and temples) exist within a forest landscape. Weatherford’s new drawings reflect the nuances of this environment and her time in Japan more broadly, resulting in a range of compositional approaches, color palettes, and textures. They also emerge from the same kinds of prompts that give rise to her paintings: each represents a synthesis of abstract material experimentation and response to a particular place, time, experience, or idea. Their gestural brushwork and complex spatial effects offer clear parallels to her neon paintings, for instance, providing viewers with fresh points of access to the prevailing dualities—between heaven and earth, individual encounter and collective imagination, cultural history and direct sense perception—that have fueled Weatherford’s painting practice for more than 30 years.
Each of the four groups of drawings on view is dedicated to a particular subject. While distinctions between the groups are easy to discern––the sylvan palette of the In the cedar forest works offers clear contrasts to the sharp blacks, whites, and primary tones of the Shibuya Crossing group, for instance––even within them a wide variety of visual strategies are on display. The drawings in the Cosmos group, inspired by views of the eponymous pink flowers in the Nikko countryside, are characterized by dramatically different densities of marks; some are full of frenzied energy, perhaps evoking the movement of blooms in the wind, while others are spare and open. And in the night sky, Nikko works, Weatherford establishes a seemingly limitless continuum of blues and blacks as she employs negative space to create bold, calligraphic forms with a decidedly sculptural feel. In all of the groups she also allows the paper itself to play an active role, so that folds and edges generate discernible relief, and each drawing becomes a multidimensional act of perception, intuition, and response.
Mary Weatherford (b. 1963, Ojai, California) is the subject of a survey exhibition, Canyon– Daisy–Eden, that was on view earlier this year at the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, and will travel to SITE Santa Fe in 2021. A solo exhibition of Weatherford’s neon paintings will open at the Aspen Art Museum in December 2020. She has also presented solo shows at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California (2014); Todd Madigan Gallery, California State University at Bakersfield, California (2012); and LAXART, Los Angeles (2012). Recent group exhibitions include Aftereffect: Georgia O'Keeffe and Contemporary Painting, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver (2019); Feel the Sun in Your Mouth: Recent Acquisitions, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2019); Between Two Worlds: Art of California, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2017); NO MAN’S LAND: Women Artists from the Rubell Family Collection, Rubell Family Collection, Miami (2015); Pretty Raw: After and Around Helen Frankenthaler, Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts (2015); and The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World, Museum of Modern Art, New York (2014). Her work features in the permanent collections of many institutions, among them the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Brooklyn Museum, New York; K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; and Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. In 2019, Lund Humphries published an in-depth monograph surveying the artist's oeuvre. Weatherford lives and works in Los Angeles.