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January 13 – February 20, 2016
Gladstone 64
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Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Marisa Merz. The exhibition features painting, sculpture, and works on paper, highlighting Merz’s pioneering role since the mid-1960s as a central figure and the only female artist in the Arte Povera movement.

Throughout Merz’s oeuvre, the figure of the face emerges at times in arabesque lines of graphite, or radiant gold leaf, or molded from clay. Each reveals a ghostly configuration of abstracted features that defy expressions of individual identity, fixing each form in a state of suspended time. Operating within their own temporal logic, these works powerfully mirror Merz’s overarching artistic belief in the enduring effect of each piece beyond its material realization and the constraints of time and place. In soft wax or sheets of metal, Merz’s images are like primordial evocations, enigmatic yet intimate. In this exhibition, works of knit copper punctuate Merz’s drawn figures, pulling the viewer between figurative identification and phenomenological experience of abstract sculptures.

Germano Celant describes in Merz’s work an attempt to represent the dialogue between principles which are “both active and passive, rigid and supple, opaque and transparent, permanent and ephemeral.” Known for her unconventional use of materials, such as copper wire, clay, wax, and sheets of metal, Merz brings dichotomous materials into a uniquely personal aesthetic language, creating abstracted, organic forms that are radiant, visceral, and intimate.

Marisa Merz was born in 1926 in Turin, Italy. She received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 2013 Venice Biennale. She has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at insitutions including: Centre Internationale d’art et du Paysage, ÎIe de Vassivière, France; Serpentine Gallery, London; Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina, Naples, Italy; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; and the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.  Merz has also been included in group exhibitions at notable institutions including: Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein; CCS Bard/Hessel Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; and the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, D.C. In 2017, Merz will be the subject of a solo exhibition co-organized by the Hammer Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and will travel to both museums.