Featuring works by Richard Diebenkorn, Jim Dine, and David Hockney, the exhibition includes over one hundred prints which provide an overview of the careers of these artists over the period between 1950 and 1986. Selected from Bank of America's collection, these works reveal the private explorations into the aesthetics of line, color, and formal complexity.
The works on paper in this exhibition, by three important artists who lived and worked in different parts of the country, reflect a pivotal time in history.
Richard Diebenkorn's works in the exhibition include examples of his figurative, abstract, and of the rather eccentric group of works on paper known as the "Clubs and Spades" produced in 1981.
His style evolved from abstract expressionism through figuration and back to a personal mode of abstraction over the span of his career.
In 1955, he began to work in a "representational" mode, and experimented with the figure extensively. In 1965 he began the late figurative works, characterized by flat areas, a clear influence of Matisse most evident in works like "Woman in Chemise'' (1965), or "Figure Sitting in Chair'' (1968). Diebenkorn was less interested in portraiture than in creating formally complex works.
In 1967, Diebenkorn returned to abstraction in the well known Ocean Park series. His abstract works are non-objective and display elements which strongly evoke the bright Californian coastal landscape. The surface is divided by horizontal and vertical lines and activated by several diagonals.
In 1980 and 1981, Diebenkorn temporarily experimented with new imagery, producing a group of works on paper known as the "Clubs and Spades". New to his artistic vocabulary, the series was informed by his lifelong fascination with their heraldic quality. Later in the series, the shapes became more irregular and dynamic, subtly referencing Joan Miro. Received with hesitation when first shown, later the series gained great appreciation. Regardless of subject matter Diebenkorn is a master of spatial relationships.
David Hockney was an important contributor to the British Pop Art movement of the 1960s, being considered one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. He was attracted to California during the 1960s, and he eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1978. The city lived up to his expectations and its lifestyle and landscape became important features of his work. The central theme of his work is space, evident in the variety of ways he approached it: from portraits to interior, and to panoramic scenes.
Although he has produced a wide variety of works throughout his career, he returned to portraiture many times, exploring different methods of representation and techniques. His portraits depict people close to him, and they display his facility with a variety of mediums and his exquisite draftsmanship. In addition to their stylistic and technical merits, Hockney's portraits are a personal diary. He often executed multiple portraits of the same subject over time, among them Celia Birtwell, Peter Schlesinger, and Henry Gelzahler.
Hockney also investigated the temporal dimension of images, from the finitude of falling rain to the duration of still life. The Photo collages, which consist of a series of photographs taken from different viewpoints, arranged to form a single piece, are compressing the time of looking at the subject from different angles and presenting them as composites in one single image. He successfully translated the fragmentation of photo collages to prints and introduced the elements of time, space and narrative. The first two elements are central to cubism and they clearly are linking Hockney's Two Pembroke Studio Chairs and Pembroke Studio with Blue Chair and Lamp to it.
Overall, Hockney's prints alone would assure him an important place in 20th century art, his high reputation being mainly based on etchings and lithographs.
Early in his career, Jim Dine began his lifelong pursuit of memory, themes of the body, and exploration of personal identity. His use of everyday objects resulted in countless works of indisputable power and beauty.
His artworks include images carried to the level of autobiographical which transcended the personal and became cultural icons. He distanced himself from literal figurative representations acknowledging the presence of the body in artworks depicting articles of clothing, anatomical fragments, and tools.
The Bathrobe image was first created in 1963 as a self portrait. Working from an ad he clipped out of the NY Times, he expanded the theme ever since. The tools, bathrobes, hearts, portraits, and Venuses, reference the artist's life to the degree that they can be viewed as self-portraits.
He is renowned as a Pop and Happenings artist, with an intellectual thirst, constantly challenging himself. A prolific artist, he produced over three thousand paintings, performance works, stage designs, poetry and music.