Nov 18, 2015 — Feb 28, 2016
“You are there like everywhere like everyone you see”
--Brian Wilson This Whole World
Among the best-known artists of the 20th century, Andrew Wyeth (1917-2009) stands out as a consummate realist in an age of abstraction. His technical mastery of drawing, watercolor, and tempera, however, did not limit the abstract potency of his subject matter.
Much has been made over his 70-year career of Wyeth’s “worlds,” bodies of work that feature recognizable paintings of neighbors, friends, and family, set within the context of his homes in Pennsylvania and Maine. Some critics claim that such work proves the artist’s narrow provincialism.
But in the contemporary “selfie era,” it should be easy to understand Wyeth’s exploitation and exaltation of familiar faces and surroundings. Beginning with his personal feelings about his subjects, he endlessly analyzed, transformed, and re-mystified them through the peculiar labor of his making. He cast them as proof of being in a mysterious existence, and he invested them with a poetry that stands with the masters of any historical moment.
Helga Testorf posed for Andrew Wyeth for 15 years, her image evolving from that of an anatomical study to earth mother and temptress to the artist’s own foil and surrogate.
Comprised of one major tempera painting and 20 works on paper, some of which have never before been exhibited publicly, Andy and Helga: This Whole World explores the artist’s creative process as he refines and recombines composition and narrative into a compellingly holistic world view.