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Polly Apfelbaum: Atomic Pinwheels and Other Mysteries

This exhibition features unique prints of extraordinary complexity from this renowned American artist. Marking the artist’s first exhibition dedicated solely to her ambitious printmaking practice, more than 60 works on paper will be displayed across three galleries. Apfelbaum creates worlds of visual wonderment. The artist’s maximalist aesthetic posits a startling idea: Beauty, exuberance, and chromatic energy are conduits to social unity. Her works convey a welcoming space where juxtaposition of seemingly incongruous colors and patterns find shared equilibrium hinting at a society in peace.

The exhibition will highlight a wide-range of Apfelbaum’s printmaking processes with a collection of one-of-a-kind monoprints taking center stage. Her recent Atomic series arose from a process similar to that of her installation works, such as her “fallen paintings” consisting of many dyed fabric components that the artist arranges in situ on the floor. Relatedly, these staggeringly complex print works were created with the assistance of six printmakers who inked hundreds of woodblocks in assorted colors and patterns. The artist then spontaneously placed the blocks in printing jigs to explore different color combinations and compositions. Created quickly, each monoprint serves as a kind of printed sketch, revealing unexpected moments of variation and fluidity.

Apfelbaum has been active since the mid-1980s and is best known for her expansive polychromatic floor-based installations residing somewhere between painting and sculpture. The artist has deployed a wide variety of media—including fabric, paint, dyes, wallpaper, and ceramics—and her sensibility is informed by an encyclopedic knowledge of the applied arts, art history, and popular culture.

Artist Lecture | September 4, 4-5 pm, CUB Auditorium
Reception | September 4, 5-6 pm, Museum Gallery

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