March 6 – May 1, 2010
Woodward Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings by Natalie Edgar. She demonstrates the continuing vitality of the New York School of painting. The sensibilities of color, space and rhythm are her métier.
Grace Glueck, observed this vitality in an earlier exhibition, “…Multiple images can be read in Natalie Edgar’s canvases, whole very active surfaces are formed by complex layerings of paint, put down in all manner of accomplished ways…..it could be the central axis of a face or a mountainous valley. But what is most engaging here is Edgar’s gusto for tapping the expressive power of paint.” (The New York Times)
About the current exhibition, Judd Tully observes in his catalog essay that the painting as a whole is a fusion of many sources, “There’s no correct way to read a painting. No matter how long you look, either abstract or figurative. You can imagine or believe you see a head emerging from that tangle of explosive marks, a veiled reference to a Picasso head or perhaps a Pisano apostle, or a summit of a mountain.”
Space is the hidden black matter in the imagery. Gerard McCarthy had noticed, “Her images may or may not suggest figures, but effectively evoke a vertiginous sensation.” (Art in America) It is this odd feeling of altitude in her space that prompted the title “From Above” for the exhibition.
As a student, she survived the gauntlet of ferocious fighting between the Bauhaus people and the Abstract Expressionists, in the Brooklyn College Design Department. There she absorbed exciting, avant garde ideas about abstract painting from Ad Reinhardt, Mark Rothko, Alfred Russell.
In 1966, Edgar married the noted Abstract Expressionist sculptor Philip Pavia and through him she had close friendships with Franz Kline, Willem and Elaine de Kooning, Esteban Vicente, and others. Natalie Edgar’s eye for understanding abstraction was further developed from her days writing for ARTnews in the 1960s -1970s and editing It Is Magazine in 1964.
It was during the 1980s when she began taking annual trips to Italy and exploring the mountains near the town of Pietrasanta; the very high-altitude terrain where Michelangelo quarried his white Carrara marble in the 16th century. “It shook up my senses- and my New York thinking- and I began working more on color, in new ways,” Edgar recalls.
This exhibition draws on Natalie Edgar’s broad background. As the paintings lead you through the hills, crests and trails of a metaphysical mountain, they speak of a lifetime emersion in abstract art.
A catalogue with essay by Judd Tully is available and has been published in conjunction with the Natalie Edgar From Above exhibition.
Judd Tully is the editor-at-large of Art + Auction magazine and a member of the American Section of the International Association of Art Critics. Tully is the author of numerous articles in major publications ranging from Smithsonian to The Washington Post. He is the author of several books, including Red Grooms & Ruckus Manhattan (George Braziller, New York).