Bell Gallery at Brown University Presents "Luscious: Paintings and Drawings by Wendy Edwards"

  • PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island
  • /
  • October 11, 2019

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Wendy Edwards, Upper, 2015. Oil on canvas, 78 x 70 in. Courtesy of the artist.

The David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University is presenting the exhibition Luscious: Paintings and Drawings by Wendy Edwards, a 40-year retrospective of the artist’s prolific career. A masterful colorist, Edwards creates paintings in which she explores the physicality of pigment on canvas and vibrant works on paper executed with soft pastels.  Expressed in exuberant colors and bold compositions, the works vary from landscapes and still-lifes to organic forms and abstraction. The survey includes works created since 1980 when Edwards joined Brown University’s Department of Visual Art faculty. The 50 canvases and works on paper convey strong emotional content informed by Edward’s relationship with the natural world and abiding commitment to a feminist vision.

On view November 16, 2019 through March 15, 2020 Luscious: Paintings and Drawings by Wendy Edwards examines the underlying conceptual basis for Edwards’ work which has been rooted in her life experiences. These include her travels to China, the death of friends from AIDS, the birth of her daughter, and residencies and teaching positions in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Newfoundland, France and Spain with their varied landscapes and cultures.

Over the course of her career, Edwards has engaged in geometric and free-form abstraction and repetition stemming from such motifs as leaves and clusters of flowers. She depicts body parts, the moon, spherical fruits such as peaches and figs and ceramic vessels that often appear in Edwards’ work as a kind of stand-in for the artist herself.

The impact of the Pattern and Decoration art movement (mid 1970s-1980s) is evident in the artist’s work. Textiles in a diversity of forms and repetitive patterns have been sources of inspiration. Edwards embraces structures and imagery associated with this approach, plying a vibrant palette—foremost among her artistic passions.

Curator Jo-Ann Conklin, director of the David Winton Bell Gallery, said, “Wendy Edwards is a painter’s painter—inventive, experimental and fearless. She rejoices in applying luscious (a term she often uses) colors and manipulating materiality in an array of mediums to create dynamic compositions. Her layering techniques also result in luminous surfaces that draw you in. We are delighted to showcase the work of such an influential artist and distinguished faculty member.”   

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue including an essay by Ruth Fine who recently retired as curator of special projects in modern art at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and has known Edwards for over 50 years. The catalogue is published by Brown University and is available through the Bell Gallery. According to Fine, “Tense, opposing, humorous, elegant, vigorous, rhythmic, meditative, hypnotic, decorative—such words come to mind while observing Edwards' work. Materiality, lightness and darkness, stasis and speed, repetition, tracks of process: all affect the diverse symbols and signifiers embedded in her practice.”

About Wendy Edwards

Born in 1950 in Falls Church, VA, Edwards attended high school art classes taught by Sam Gilliam at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC. She received a BFA in painting from the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts) in 1972, and an MA in painting from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, in 1974. In 1980, she was hired by Brown University as an assistant professor in the Department of Visual Art; she received tenure in 1987 and was promoted to full professor in 1990.

Edwards’ work has been featured in solo and group shows across the country and internationally at venues including Boston Center for the Arts, MA; China National Academy of Painting, Beijing; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Dallas, TX;  Dieu Donné, New York, NY; France and Mona Bismarck Foundation, Paris, France; Institute Franco-Americain, Rennes, France; Mystic Museum of Art, Mystic, CT; Palacio de Festivales de CantabriaSantander, Spain; Plastica Contemporania Gallery, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundación Comillas, Spain; and Soviet Hall of Art, Moscow, Russia. Her work is included in collections at Karamay Museum, China; Philadelphia Museum of Art; RISD Museum, Providence; San Antonio Museum of Art; Tamarind Institute of Lithography, Albuquerque, NM; The University of New Mexico; and The United States Information Agency.

About David Winton Bell Gallery

The David Winton Bell Gallery, an affiliated program of the Brown Arts Initiative, is Brown University’s contemporary art gallery and home to an important part of the University's permanent art collection. The Gallery hosts four to five exhibitions each year with an emphasis on contemporary works by artists who address important issues of our time.

Broadly concerned with the presentation of exemplary work by artists living today, the Bell Gallery takes pride in showing artwork irrespective of media, content or subject and makes special efforts to support and show the work of emerging or under-recognized practitioners. Alongside the contemporary arts, the Gallery also makes use of its art historical collections, programming exhibitions on the arts and culture of the last five centuries. The Bell Gallery maintains a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art, dating from the 16th century to the present, with particularly rich holdings in contemporary art and works on paper.

Founded in 1971, the Gallery is named in memory of David Winton Bell, a member of the Brown University class of 1954. It is housed in the Albert and Vera List Art Building designed by internationally renowned architect Philip Johnson, that also includes classrooms, lecture halls, and extensive studio space. Free and open to the public, the Gallery is open Monday–Wednesday and Friday 11 am–4 pm; Thursday 1–9 pm; and Saturday and Sunday 1–4 pm, and is located at 64 College Street in Providence, RI.


About Brown Arts Initiative

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University seeks to cultivate creative expression and foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from one another and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields across the campus and around the world. A consortium of six arts departments and two programs that encompass the performing, literary and visual arts, BAI works collaboratively to enhance curricular and co-curricular offerings, directly engage students with prominent artists working in all genres and media, and supports a diverse program of concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and symposia each year. BAI takes full advantage of the University’s Open Curriculum and builds on Brown’s reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory, practice and scholarship with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous artmaking and experimentation.


BAI comprises and integrates History of Art and Architecture; Literary Arts; Modern Culture and Media; Music; Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Visual Art; the David Winton Bell Gallery; and Rites and Reason Theatre/Africana Studies.



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