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Realist Painter and Photographer Exhibitions at Museum of Art Starting Oct. 31

October 15, 2008

Gabriel Laderman, “View of Florence”, 1962-63, oil on canvas, 49 ¾” x 70”, collection of the artist
Gabriel Laderman, “View of Florence”, 1962-63,
oil on canvas, 49 ¾” x 70”, collection of the artist

Two new exhibitions showcasing works by American realist painter Gabriel Laderman and the photographer Carl Chiarenza will be on view at the Museum of Art from Nov. 1 through Dec.15. “Gabriel Laderman: Unconventional Realist,” and “Peace Warriors and Solitudes: Recent Photographs by Carl Chiarenza,” will open with a public preview reception on Friday, Oct. 31, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free.

“Gabriel Laderman: Unconventional Realist”presents 20 works by Gabriel Laderman, a founding father of post-modern figuration. Celebrated as one of the outstanding painters of the last half-century, Laderman was an early and important model for both peers and younger painters, here and abroad. Standing apart from academic formulas, and any obvious modernist strategy, he completely rethought figuration. He drew his visual language from diverse cultural sources—modernism, the early Renaissance, seventeenth-century realism, Asian art—and joined them through the process of perceptual painting.

The exhibition examines four decades of Laderman’s development as an artist, working with still life, landscape, portraiture, the nude, and narrative. His recent, often complex, figure compositions are among the most challenging and rewarding works produced anywhere in the last quarter century. 

Guest curators for the exhibition are David Carbone (University of Albany, SUNY), Lincoln Perry (University of Virginia), and Langdon Quin (University of New Hampshire). The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue.

The exhibition has been jointly organized and circulated by the University of Virginia Art Museum and the UNH Museum of Art. Both the exhibition and accompanying catalogue were made possible by generous gifts from Allison and Donald Innes, Ruth Cross, Richard and Melissa Spurzem, an anonymous donor, and the Hackett-Freedman Gallery, San Francisco.

Carl Chiarenza, “Peace Warrior (Don Quixote) 181”, 2003, gelatin silver print on paper, 16” x 20”
Carl Chiarenza, “Peace Warrior (Don Quixote)
181”, 2003, gelatin silver print on paper, 16” x 20”

The exhibition “Peace Warriors and Solitudes: Recent Photographs by Carl Chiarenza” features work by one of the preeminent photographers of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Chiarenza (American, born 1935) has influenced not only the practice of art but also the study and promotion of photography inside academia and beyond. This exhibition features photographs from two recent series of abstract works, inspired in part by the artist's reactions to the war in Iraq.

The “Peace Warriors and Solitudes” series of photographs evolved in the studio, according to Chiarenza, while he was working with a collage whose elements began to resemble a samurai. The artist deliberately created work in which figures resembling soldiers, the grim reaper, Don Quixote, and Quixote’s sidekick Sancho Panza emerged due to the artist’s frustrations to the situations in Iraq and the Middle East and the actions of the U.S. government. After creating photographs related to this theme and much in need of introspection, he began to create abstract, sensuous imagery with refined smooth shapes and tonality, resulting in the “Solitudes” series.

Chiarenza’s photographic career spans an impressive five decades.

Regarding his motivation he says, “I want the viewer of my work to sense the power, to feel the presence of the unknown. All photographs share this life force of their own individuality. Somewhere between the making and the viewing of the picture, we experience this force, though our experience remains forever beyond satisfactory explanation.”

Chiarenza received an M.S. and A.M. at Boston University and an A.A.S. and B.F.A. from the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he studied with photographers Ralph Hattersley and Minor White. His Ph.D. dissertation at Harvard University formed the basis of the monograph “Aaron Siskind: Pleasures and Terrors,” published in 1982. He is currently artist-in-residence and Fanny Knapp Allen Professor Emeritus of Art History at the University of Rochester, NY. Between 1963 and 1986, he was chair, director of graduate studies, and professor of art history at Boston University.

Chiarenza’s work is in numerous collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Museum of Fine Art Arts, Boston; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Cleveland Museum of Art; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Organized by the University of Richmond Museums, “Peace Warriors and Solitudes: Recent Photographs by Carl Chiarenza” was curated by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions, University Museums. The exhibition will tour nationally through 2010.

Chiarenza’s photographs are the subject of the newly released book, titled “Pictures Come from Pictures, Photographs by Carl Chiarenza,” with 91 duotone images, and an introduction by N. Elizabeth Schlatter, deputy director and curator of exhibitions, University of Richmond Museums. The book was published by David R. Godine, publisher, and is available for purchase at the Museum of Art in conjunction with the exhibition.

All Museum of Art exhibitions and programs are open to the public free of charge.

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