Vivian Springford "Stain Paintings"

Gary Snyder Project Space

poster for Vivian Springford "Stain Paintings"

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Gary Snyder/Project Space will present an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Vivian Springford (1914 – 2003), an abstract expressionist painter best known for her Stained Color Field Paintings. The exhibition will be accompanied by a 28 page catalogue with 10 color plates.

The art critic Harold Rosenberg helped Springford get her first show at Great Jones Gallery in 1960. The show generated much excitement and was filmed in the movie “Bowl of Cherries”, in the film library of the Museum of Modern Art.

Springford shared studio space with the Asian American artist Walasse Ting in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and helped him with the translations of his poetry. Through her association with Ting, Springford developed close contacts with artists such as Pierre Alechinsky, Sam Francis and Karel Appel. Ting also introduced Springford to Asian art and philosophy, which had a strong influence on her work. Springford wrote “My painting is my own small plot of energy, in terms of color and movement, in the universal whole.”

Springford was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and educated at the Spence School in New York City, and the Art Students League. Originally a portrait artist, she illustrated Albert Carr’s 1938 book “Juggernaut” with portraits of twenty political dictators from the Napoleanic era to the early twentieth century. She moved to New York City in the mid-1950s, and was part of the second-generation abstract expressionist movement of that time.

Springford was a “stain painter”, applying paint to unprimed canvas through brush and pouring. Her early works of the late 1950s and early 1960s were more austere “Black Paintings” – later her palate changed with the embrace of a wide range of color.

Springford was a reclusive artist after the 1960s, only showing in a few group exhibitions. In the mid 1980s she began to suffer from macular degeneration that left her legally blind. She lived in a small New York midtown hotel, and was rediscovered after a social worker visited her and introduced her body of art to Gary Snyder, who began showing her work in 1998.

[Image: Vivian Springford "Cosmos Series #11 (VSF340)" (1985) acrylic on canvas, 79 3/8 x 79 1/2 in.]



from September 04, 2009 to October 31, 2009

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