Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by artist Maureen Gallace. This exhibition will be the first devoted solely to her work on paper in which she uses both drawing and painting to evoke the vernacular milieu of the New England coast. Known for landscape and still life paintings, her meditative compositions belie a sophisticated rethinking of realism. With gestures equally immediate and thoughtful, Gallace reawakens the potential in the modernist idea of significant form which, as Clive Bell formulated, is a mode of simplified abstract representation where “we catch a sense of ultimate reality.” In her renderings of saltbox houses, beaches, and everyday flora, Gallace expands on this art historical premise to imbue her significant forms with personal significance—a recognizable sense of place shadowed with fugitive memory and the atmosphere of lived experience.
For this exhibition, Gallace presents a series of drawings that capture similar subjects of her well-known paintings, though with a more intimate and gestural edge. In documenting these moments, she creates a quiet stillness, for instance in evocative contours that seemingly halt a wave just as it crashes. Still displaying the same precision and disarming complexity of composition, her drawings have an anatomical relationship to the paintings, delineating the shapes that comprise her signature idiom: shells, flowers, beaches, and impassive buildings that dot the coast. Critic Bruce Hainley draws connection between Gallace’s work and the intellectual traditions of New England, recognizing in her work “philosophical and literary precursors in the private, thorny independents of the American Renaissance: Henry David Thoreau and Emily Dickinson. These genius home-dwellers didn't need to leave the backyard or bedroom to travel vast distances; their quiet yet fierce art entailed a scientific observation of the natural world around them: the psyche's meteorology as part of the weather.” It is in the making of interiority’s atmosphere palpable through the metonym of everyday exterior views, creating a tension between the subjective and the objective, that endows Gallace’s realism with its affecting resonance.
Maureen Gallace has been the subject of major solo exhibitions, including a 20-year survey show, “Clear Day,” at MoMA PS1, New York, in 2017. Other exhibitions include: La Conservera, Murcia, Spain, 2011; The Art Institute of Chicago, 2006; Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin, 2004; Dallas Museum of Art, 2003; and the 2010 Whitney Biennial.