DC Moore is pleased to announce Those Who Dare, an exhibition of 5 artists – Mary Frank, Vanessa German, Whitfield Lovell, Duane Michals, and Carrie Moyer. These artists work in brazen and original ways with the human figure, some very directly, and others with veiled references. The title, Those Who Dare refers not only to the boldness of their own artistic expressions across a variety of media but also to the adventurous and audacious subjects they choose.
Carrie Moyer departs from much of her more abstract painting to celebrate a strident, voluptuous character from the Italian Commedia dell‘arte, known for her big gestures, jewelry, and tough demeanor. The figure in Moyer’s painting is full of wit. The frontal posture of La Signora is indebted to Willem De Kooning’s Woman paintings that the artist has said are “permanently imprinted somewhere deep in my brain.”
Three new works from Whitfield Lovell’s Spell Suite are on view for the first time in the gallery. The title of the series plays on both references to a sequence of pieces in dance or music, as well as the mesmerizing, arresting quality of a spell or enchantment. Being in a spell can connote a state of consciousness or a spiritual or emotional transcendence. Nina Simone was known for her song, “I Put a Spell on you” and in Lovell’s Spell Suite the need for love and acceptance in this life is interwoven through the individual works. Spell No. 6 (Yours is My Whole Heart, Where You are Not I Cannot Be) the drawn face of a handsome mid-aged man is shown with a visible scar across his cheek, and below is a large vintage tin pitcher, as could be used for dispensing oil. This resonant juxtaposition lends itself to multiple meanings, strong, yet unknowable.
Mary Frank has been an artist and activist since the 1950s. In 2019, she was asked to collaborate with the environmental writer and activist, Terry Tempest Williams on the subject of the devastating California wildfires. Their collaboration, A Burning Testament, was published by Eakins Press Foundation in 2020. The paintings, and photography by Mary Frank combined with the writing by Terry Tempest Williams are brought together as a passionate plea and a manifesto in defense of the earth. Williams has written “Let this be a humble tribute, an exaltation, an homage, and an open-hearted eulogy to all we are losing to fire, to floods, to hurricanes and tornadoes and the invisible virus that has called us all home and brought us to our knees. We are not the only species that lives and loves and breathes on this miraculous planet called Earth.” A selection of Mary Franks works from this collaboration are on view for the first time in Those Who Dare.
Vanessa German explores the power of transformation and healing through her bold mixed-media assemblages. Her embellished and layered sculpture incorporates objects found within and around her Pittsburgh neighborhood. Five new wall-mounted works are on view including the powerful, BLACK GIRL WITH SNAKES (2020) which reflects on rebirth and renewal. German is also an activist and runs the community-based program ARThouse in the historic Pittsburgh neighborhood of Homewood. The artist above all believes in the restorative power of art to heal communities.
Duane Michals has challenged viewers through his use of photography since his first sequenced photographs were shown in the 1960s when the artist wrote irreverently in the margins of his prints, something deemed as both innovative and sacrilegious at the time. In the ensuing decades, Michals’ art has been described as contemplative, confessional, and comedic. Two new sequences included present a wry look at the 89-year-old Michals. The first is the four-photograph sequence, Taxidermied Duane on Permanent Display in a Shop Window (2017), and the second Duane Sees a Rose (2018) is a metaphysical and epistemological play on Gertrude Stein’s infamous play on words.