SITE Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NM




The Recent Work of Robert Therrien


From June 17 through September 10, 2000, SITE Santa Fe presents "The Recent Work of Robert Therrien." The exhibition opens with a free public reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 17. Curator Lynn Zelevansky will give gallery talks at 2:00 pm. on Sunday, June 18 and Sunday, August 6. The exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and curated by Lynn Zelevansky, curator of modern and contemporary art at LACMA. It is made possible in part by grants from the Broad Art Foundation, Lannan Foundation, and the Pasadena Art Alliance. An extensive exhibition catalogue will be available. (left: No title (stacked plates), 1993, mixed media and fibergalss, 94 x 60 x 60 inches)

At the age of 53, Robert Therrien is one of the most highly respected artists working in Southern California. Over the last 25 years, he has produced a unique body of work in which forms and images that recur in his sculpture have been recycled and reinterpreted with the aid of painting, drawing and photography. Therrien is known predominantly as a sculptor and this exhibition will present eight major sculptures, most done within the last five years. It will also include a group of smaller reliefs and two-dimensional works in a variety of media that will help to explicate Therrien's very personal and unusual creative process. (right: Under the Table, 1994, Santa Fe Depot, San Diego. Photo credit: Philpp Scholz Rittermann)

"We are very pleased to be able to bring this exhibition to New Mexico," said Louis Grachos, SITE Santa Fe's director and curator. "We think it is going to be an important summer exhibition for us -- especially because after it leaves us, the exhibition will travel to only one other US museum, the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston, and then it goes to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Monterrey, Mexico." (left: No title (oil can), 1997, tin on steel, 30 x 7 [diameter] inches)

Therrien's is an art of paradox and balance. Occupying a no-man's-land between abstraction and figuration, his extremely refined objects are, at the same time, reminiscent of almost clichéd commonplace cultural symbols -- a bird on the wing; a snowman that turned on its side becomes a cloud -- rigorous formalism coexisting with overt sentiment. Therrien's sculptures suggest rationality and objectivity in the perfection of their proportions, and their narrative associations denote interiority and personal history. (right: Dutch Doors, 1998, lacquer on wood, 109 1/2 x 34 1/2 x 44 inches)

In recent years, Therrien's sculpture has increased in size, and more often it is freestanding. Its representational aspects have become more dominant and it has generally gotten bolder. Installed, these newer works are environmental pieces. They activate the space around them, which becomes as important to the artist's statement as the sculpture itself. Entering one of Therrien's fully realized installations is like walking into one of his paintings in which a single object is isolated on an uninflected ground.

rev. 6/13/00

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 2/28/11

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