Exhibition: Michael Craig-Martin
February 10, 2015 to June 7, 2015
Dorothy Johnston Towne Gallery
Conceptual artist Michael Craig-Martin trains his eye on George Seurat’s monumental painting Une Baignade, Asnieres (“Bathers at Asnieres”), 1884, one of the most famous pictures in the collection of the National Gallery, London. Moving several steps beyond Seurat’s own remarkably modern reduction of figures into forms, curves and colors, Craig-Martin deconstructs and reconstructs the image through his signature style: his painting, and two sets of related prints, recast the scene of boys on the banks on the Seine through sharp graphic line drawings with a thrilling pop palette. Using computer software to separate the figures from their background, Craig-Martin reconstructed the images, replacing the original colour with his own vivid palette. Originally, this piece was debuted in 2004 and more than a decade later is now being welcomed to the Davis.
Born in Dublin in 1941, Craig-Martin was brought up in the United States, but continued to visit his father’s family in Dublin throughout his childhood. He studied fine art at Yale University, where he met such influential artists as Richard Serra, Brice Marden and Chuck Close. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s, where he became one of the leading figures of the first generation of British conceptual artists. As Professor of Fine Art in Goldsmiths College, London, in the 1970s and ‘80s, Craig-Martin was a key influence on the yBa (Young British Artists) generation including names such as Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas and many more. He has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, both in Britain and internationally, and has produced installations for the Projects exhibition series at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1991, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, 1994. In 1993 he returned to Goldsmiths College as Millard Professor of Fine Art and in 1998 he represented Britain at the Bienal de São Paulo in Brazil.
Curated by Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director, with generous support from Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis.