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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Vivian Springford

(1913 - 2003), USA

The American abstract painter Vivian Springford (1913-2003) provides a fascinating case study of a mid-century American woman artist. Working first in an Abstract Expressionist and then in a Colour Field vocabulary, she was active in multiple facets of the New York art world from the 1950s to 1970s, during which time she had solo and group exhibitions at the Great Jones Gallery, the Preston Gallery, Women in the Arts, and the Visual Arts Coalition.

With an emphasis on gesture, dripping, and splattering, Springford's works of the 1950s bore a clear connection to Abstract Expressionism. The primary influence of her early work came from East Asian arts and letters, particularly Chinese calligraphy, Taoism and Confucianism. She credited the Chinese-American painter Walasse Ting, whom she met in the mid-1950s, with introducing her to Asian culture. Part of what attracted her about calligraphy as a technique was the fact that it cannot be altered once a mark is made. Her use of this technique resulted in 'one-shot' paintings: virtuosic works made in a single go, without alteration or revision.

By 1970 Springford had developed a manner of stain painting that was distinctively her own. Her use of thinned paint on raw or thinly-primed canvas, which she developed with her calligraphic paintings of the late 1950s, developed into more abstract and wash-like marks, with stained coloured lines expanding into floods of colour. This stylistic approach aligns with the Colour Field painters' exploration of stain painting as a primary mode of mark making.

Springford once remarked that, for her, the act of painting was an 'attempt to identify with the universal whole.... I want to find my own small plot or pattern of energy that will express the inner me in terms of rhythmic movement and colour. The expansive centre of the universe, of the stars, and of nature is my constant challenge in abstract terms.'1 With her technical inventiveness, formal originality, and seductive use of colour, her work deserves a place in the annals of postwar American art, particularly in relation to the histories of Abstract Expressionist and Colour Field painting. Following her inclusion in the Denver Art Museum's exhibition catalog, Women of Abstract Expressionism (Joan Marter, 2016), the time is right for a critical revision and appreciation of Springford's abundant talent and tireless persistence-a story that mirrors those of so many women artists, past and present.

1. Vivian Springford, artist's statement in newsletter of The Woman in the Arts Foundation, March 1976.

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Featured Artworks

View All (14)
Untitled by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled, 1975 Acrylic on canvas
182.2 x 182.2 x 3.2 cm
Almine Rech
Untitled by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled, 1975 Acrylic on canvas
178.4 x 178.4 x 3.8 cm
Almine Rech
Untitled by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled, 1960 Acrylic on canvas
101.1 x 124.5 cm
Almine Rech
Untitled by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled, 1960 Acrylic on canvas
127 x 90.2 cm
Almine Rech
Untitled by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled, c. 1972 Acrylic on canvas
175.9 x 177.2 x 3.8 cm
Almine Rech
Untitled by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled, c. 1970 Acrylic on canvas
177.2 x 176.8 x 3.8 cm
Almine Rech
Untitled by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled, c. 1972 Acrylic on canvas
125.1 x 130.2 x 3.2 cm
Almine Rech
Untitled (Tanzania Series) by Vivian Springford contemporary artwork
Vivian SpringfordUntitled (Tanzania Series), 1972 Acrylic on canvas
140.7 x 155.6 x 2.9 cm
Almine Rech

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Vivian Springford, Vivian Springford at Almine Rech, New York
Closed
12 September–20 October 2018 Vivian Springford Vivian Springford Almine Rech, New York

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