Atlanta Life and Culture

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Details on the major show of Alex Katz landscapes High Museum will mount in '15

The High Museum of Art recently announced details of a major exhibition of New York artist Alex Katz's landscapes for summer 2015. “Alex Katz, This Is Now” will include more than 40 works created between 1954 and 2013, including 15 monumental paintings.

Running June 21 to Sept. 6, 2015, the exhibit will place a strong focus on what Katz calls his “environmental paintings” — works that engulf viewers with their expansive, painterly surfaces that depict moments of intense observation in the landscape.

At 87, Katz "seems as young as any emerging artist," said Michael Rooks, High curator of modern and contemporary art. "He paints with gutsiness and a personal resolve ... reflecting a uniquely American boldness and steadfastness of purpose.”

The exhibit will include (information supplied by the museum):

  • Two recent acquisitions from the High’s collection that exemplify Katz’s unique style: “Winter Landscape 2” (2007) and “Twilight” (1988). “Winter Landscape 2” depicts a stand of trees that have shed their leaves, which are set against a cool, snowy background. In the galleries, the painting will be complemented by works from Katz’s “January” series, which incorporate the same composition, demonstrating Katz’s repeated return to subjects and specific imagery. “Twilight” features small slivers of a moonlit sky as seen through the top of a grove of shadowy fir trees.
  • “10:30 am” (2006) – Elements of this large-scale work demonstrate what Katz calls “environmental” painting. No horizon line or ground plane is indicated in the composition. Instead, it provides a vast, indefinable pictorial space that viewers are invited to enter. A series of tree trunks are rhythmically located across the surface of the painting, while an allover pattern of leaves provides a counterpoint.
  • “Black Brook 16” (2001) – This 30-foot painting looks minimal from a distance, but upon closer inspection contains detailed reflections on the surface of the brook.
  • “Blue Umbrella #2” (1972) – Perhaps Katz’s best-known image, painted of his wife Ada beneath an umbrella, this work is an early example of Katz’s use of the environment as a setting for the figure.“My Mother’s Dream” (1998) – One of Katz’s largest paintings, the work consists of four large panels and depicts four separate moments of the same setting at dusk.

Through Nov. 2,  the High is showing "Painter's Painters: Gifts from Alex Katz,"  more than 20 works by contemporary artists donated to the Atlanta museum by avid collector Katz, including eight he created himself.

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The AJC Features Team spotlights arts previews, reviews, profiles, news features and breaking news on Atlanta's cultural and life scene.