Feature Articles

February 2011

Mint Museums in Charlotte, NC, Offers First Exhibition Focused on Surrealism

The Mint Museums in Charlotte, NC, will present the exhibit, Surrealism and Beyond, on view in the Brand Galleries of the Mint Museum Uptown, from Feb. 11 through May 13, 2012, with one exception. The exhibition was curated by Jon Stuhlman.

Surrealism and Beyond is a project that brings together three groundbreaking exhibitions and which comprises the largest and most significant examination Surrealism and Surrealist-inspired art ever presented in the Southeast. The exhibit includes: Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy; Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s; and Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary.

Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy explores the exchange of ideas that informed the work of the important Surrealist artists Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy during their fifteen-year relationship. It is the first exhibition of Surrealist art for The Mint Museum; the first major exhibition of Surrealism in the region; and the first anywhere to examine Sage and Tanguy’s work from this perspective.

By intermingling Sage and Tanguy’s paintings, this exhibition of approximately seventy paintings tell the fascinating story of their complex relationship and, more importantly, elucidate the commonalities and ties between each artists’ work. Visitors will see firsthand the impact each artist had upon the other as they continued to explore and develop their own unique visual languages. While many of the paintings in the exhibition are drawn from prominent public collections, a number of privately-held works will also be included - some of which have never before been exhibited, and some of which the artists dedicated to each other.

Double Solitaire: The Surreal Worlds of Kay Sage and Yves Tanguy was organized by The Mint Museum and Katonah Museum of Art, and will travel to both venues as well as the Davis Museum and Cultural Center at Wellesley College, Wellesley, NY.

The exhibition was made possible through support from The Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation.

Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s, on view from Feb. 11 through Apr. 29, 2012, focuses on the astonishing paintings and drawings created by the American artist Charles Seliger during the first decade of his career. Born in 1926, Seliger quickly acquired a strong working knowledge of early twentieth century modernism. But it was the fantastic imagery, inventive processes, and creative freedom of Surrealism that truly captured his attention, fired his imagination, and inspired him to develop his own mature aesthetic between 1942 and 1950.

Although Seliger’s work was rooted in the same basic principles and ideas as that of the Abstract Expressionists, many of whom he exhibited alongside in the 1940s, Seliger had the strength to find a distinctly personal voice and artistic vocabulary. Because of this, he was given his first solo exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s “Art of this Century” gallery in 1945. He was just nineteen. By the end of the decade Seliger had narrowed his focus and further honed his style, resulting in an approach and an aesthetic that defined his work until his death in 2009.

Seeing the World Within is the first exhibition to focus on the groundbreaking paintings Seliger created during the first decade of his career and the first museum-organized exhibition of Seliger’s work in thirty years. It brings together approximately thirty-five of his best works from the 1940s, drawn from public and private collections as well as his estate.

Following its debut at the Mint, Seeing the World Within will travel to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (June 9 through Sept. 16, 2012), and the Munson-Williams Proctor Art Institute, Utica, NY (Oct. 20, 2012 through Jan. 20, 2013).

The exhibition was made possible through support from The Mint Museum Auxiliary and awards from the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Dedalus Foundation, Inc. Exhibition organized by The Mint Museum.

Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary is the first retrospective of the British-American Surrealist painter’s work organized by an American museum in more than thirty years. Featuring over two dozen paintings by the artist, it is drawn entirely from his family’s collection. Many of the objects in the exhibition were either created specifically for Onslow Ford’s sister, Elisabeth, (including Love Knot, a wedding gift in 1945, for example) or were given to her for such special occasions as her birthday. Because of the closeness and longevity of their relationship, the exhibition will offer visitors a look at the full range of Onslow Ford’s career - from early, more traditional canvases from the 1920s and 1930s - to his first experiments with Surrealism in the late 1930s and 1940s, to his later work from the 1950s forward, which took a more cosmic, symbolic approach to abstraction.

This exhibition was organized by The Mint Museum and is a particularly apt companion for Surrealism and Beyond, as it reveals another dimension of Surrealism and its impact, and features an artist who knew and worked alongside Sage and Tanguy in the 1930s and 1940s and who wrote a book on Tanguy’s artistic process in 1980. Gordon Onslow Ford: Voyager and Visionary is accompanied by a selection of ephemera and works by family-member artists who were inspirational to Onslow Ford early in his career.

The exhibit was made possible through support from The Mint Museum Auxiliary.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Museum at 704/337-2000 or visit (www.mintmuseum.org).

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