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Sea Change


September 12 - November 15, 1998


The ocean has been a major subject and inspiration for American artists from the Nineteenth-Century Romantics to the Early Modernists to the Surrealists to the Abstract Expressionists and their heirs to a younger generation looking back to romantic realism again. The ocezn, of course, is Eastern Long Island's primary resource and has provided art excellent subiect for one of the exhibitions celebrating The Parrish Art Museum's Centennial.


Sea Change, with its thirty-two works, explores the changing role of lhe ocean in American art over the last century, including the high drama of Winslow Homer's ocean and the mystical rhythms of Albert Pinkham Ryder's ocean turbulence.


The early modemist, John Marin, sought analogies between the flow of his paint and that of his favorite subject, the ocean; and Marin's work became important to the Abstract Espressionism of Jackson Pollock. Lee Krasner, and William de Koening, all of whom were deeply affected by the ocean after moving to the East End. Conjunctions of ocean and paint continued in the work of Joan Mitchell, Jane Wilson, and Malcom Morley.


The future Abstract Expressionists and Surrealists often drew parallels between the realms of the unconscious and the underwater - a kind of mytho-poetic marine biology pursued first by Rothko, then Alfonso Ossorio and more recently by Carroll Dunham. Frank Stella has looked to the saga of Moby Dick in the creation of one of his most ambitious series and younger artists such as Frank Moore look bask to Nineteenth-Century luminism, bringing with them new ecological concerns.



Organized by Klaus Kertess, guest curator and writer

Images from top to bottom: Winslow Homer, Kissing the Moon, 1904, oil on canvas, 30 1/4 x 40 inches, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, MA, Bequest of Candace C. Stimson; Albert Pinkham Ryder, Lord Ullin's Daughter, before 1907, oil on canvas, 20 1/2 x 18 3/8 inches, National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of John Gellatly; Vija Celmins, Unitiled (Big Sea #1), 1969, graphite on acrylic ground on paper, 34 1/8 x 45 1/4 inches, Private collection, courtesy McKee Gallery, New York; Joseph Cornell, Lanner Waltzes, c. 1960s, collage, 11 5/8 x 8 1/2 inches, The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, courtesy C & M Arts, New York; Marsden Hartley, On the Beach, 1940, oil on masonite, 22 x 28 1/2 inches, Private collection.


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For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/26/10

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