Black, Bird, Brain: Ross Bleckner
His immersive, large and small-scale paintings elicit a powerful hypnotic, dizzying effect.
The works that will be on display in August bear witness to Bleckner’s interest in blurred images and disillusion – in mixing up things in such a way that their identity cannot be foreseen or deciphered. His immersive, large and small-scale paintings elicit a powerful hypnotic, dizzying effect. Whether pure abstraction of stripes or dots or more representational renderings of birds, flowers, and brains, Bleckner’s work recalls Op Art and the obsessive and mysterious luminosity of Yayoi Kusama’s Polka-dot paintings.
Smoothly layered on the canvas surface against a darker gray background, his multicolored volumetric circles or “cells” look like droplets of blood or molecules viewed under a microscope. Emerging as a prominent artist in New York during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, Bleckner’s paintings, like memento mori, often suggest meditations on the body, health and disease. “The idea that the body is so perfect, until it’s not perfect. It’s a fragile membrane that separates us from disaster.”
Ross Bleckner was born in New York City in 1949 and grew up in Hewlett, NY. In 1971, he graduated from New York City University with a Bachelor of Arts and two years later with a Master of Fine Arts from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA. Today, Bleckner’s paintings can be found in major museums such as the Museum of Modern Art and in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
His numerous group and individual exhibitions include: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco 1988; Kunsthalle Zürich, Zurich 1990; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin 1991; Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1994; SOLO SHOW at the Guggenheim Museum, New York 1995; Reina Sofia, Madrid, 1996; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 1999; L.A. County Museum, Los Angeles, 2001; Kunstmuseum Luzern, Luzern 2003 & Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, 2008, amongst others.