Magazine article Artforum International

Anne Truitt: Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University

Magazine article Artforum International

Anne Truitt: Michael C. Carlos Museum, Emory University

Article excerpt

The American artist Anne Truitt, who was included in "Black, White and Gray" (1964), "Primary Structures" (1966), and other exhibitions that helped define Minimalism, is best known for her pillar-like wooden structures, which she continues making to this day. This exhibition, cocurated by Margaret Shufeldt, the Michael C. Carlos Museum's associate curator of works on paper, and Emory art-history professor and frequent Artforum contributor James Meyer, draws attention to Truitt's early works on paper--a portion of her oeuvre that has seldom been seen in public--and argues for its centrality to her development. Resident first in Washington, DC, then in San Francisco, then again in Washington, Truitt has always functioned outside the New York art scene (though she was championed early on by Clement Greenberg). Along with recent exhibitions devoted to figures like Jay DeFeo and Lee Lozano, this show evinces a desire to look more closely at the generation of American women artists working in the period between Abstract Expressionism and Pop art as well as the movements that followed.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The earliest works here, made in San Francisco in the late '50s, demonstrate some affinities with Abstract Expressionism--one working drawing from 1958 is reminiscent of Franz Kline--but it's clear that Truitt was not fundamentally focused on the expressive gesture. Blocky shapes and thick lines give way to feathery, mottled brushwork that resembles Japanese ink painting more than Abstract Expressionism; as these forms become less dense and more fragmented, they yield to negative space. In a drawing from 1961, a dry-brushed wavy line resembling a mountain range progresses from the left near the top of the page but never completes the journey to the right-hand side; the empty page encroaches from three directions onto the fragile form. …

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