Cirrus Gallery is pleased to present Oceans, Deserts, Galaxies, an exhibition of prints by New York-based artist, Vija Celmins. These works range from those published by Cirrus Editions in the nineteen-seventies to her more current prints. The exhibit will showcase approximately twenty works, including a very early and rare “ocean” print from Tamarind. Celmin’s obsessive commitment to the themes of Ocean, Sky, and Desert has led to a body of work which, while somewhat restricted in thematic imagery, is rich in subtle variations. The images, all rendered in her trademark black and white, are similar on first glance but on closer inspection reveal diverse spaces and surfaces.
The artist typically operates from a single photographic source to generate several unique print images. This process is in opposition to that of other contemporary artists whose unique artworks often inspire photographic editions. In viewing Celmin’s work, it appears that each image emits an indeterminable space – a phenomenal space – as well as a formal one. In her printmaking, she utilizes media such as lithographic pencil on stone, mezzotint on copper, as well as engraving on wood, linoleum, and copper. The density of the lithographic surfaces is achieved through multiple printings and transparencies, which is in sharp contrast to the white line-matte black field of the wood engravings. These methods leave nothing to chance, revealing the direct mark of the artist as purely as possible.
Over the last three decades Vija Celmins has produced no more than thirty-five editions. Her retrospective exhibitions include those at Newport Harbor Art Museum (1980), ICA Philadelphia (1992), ICA London (1996), Metropolitan Museum of Art (2002), Centre Pompidou (2006), and UCLA Hammer Museum (2007).