On the occasion of its 10th anniversary, The FLAG Art Foundation is pleased to present Ellsworth Kelly, curated by Jack Shear, an exhibition focusing on Kelly’s mastery in black and white, and includes rarely-seen drawings, paintings, photographs, and sculptures made in the first and last decade of the artist’s career.
Renowned for his use of bold, monochromatic planes of color, Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015) created a fifth of his oeuvre in black and white. Art historian and critic David S. Rubin noted that Kelly is “essentially a color painter who considers black and white to be colors.” This limited, high-contrast palette allows for an increased focus on form and spacial relationships, which “intensifie[s] the abstraction by further removing the image from its natural coloration.”
Organized in intimate mise-en-scènes that focus on individual bodies of works, the exhibition presents 29 pieces that highlight the role of experimentation within Kelly’s practice. FLAG’s south gallery is solely dedicated to plein air drawings from 2005, which capture the dramatic rock formations of Belle-Île, an island off the northwest coast of France. This suite of landscape drawings points to an improbable synchronicity between Kelly and Claude Monet (1840-1926), who made numerous paintings of the region’s dramatic coastline. These drawings are complimented by a series of photographs from 1950, on the corridor wall. Shot on a borrowed Leica camera in Meschers, France, the photographs explore the interplay of light, shadow, and pattern on stacks of bricks, beach cabanas, local vegetation, and architectural fragments.