“Lesley Vance & Ricky Swallow” will provide fresh perspectives on European works in the Huntington Art Gallery
Left: Lesley Vance, Untitled (30), 2010. Oil on linen. 20 × 16 in. Private Collection.
Image courtesy the artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.
Right: Ricky Swallow, Staggered Lamp Study, 2011. Patinated bronze. 11 × 9 × 4 in. Edition of 3 + 1 AP. Image courtesy the artist and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London and Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.
MARINO, Calif. —The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical
Gardens announced today it will present an exhibition of contemporary
paintings and sculpture by Lesley Vance and Ricky Swallow in the
Huntington Art Gallery, which displays the institution’s venerable
collection of European art and once served as the residence of Henry E.
Huntington and his wife, Arabella. “Lesley Vance & Ricky Swallow,”
on view Nov. 10, 2012, through March 11, 2013, is an unprecedented
project at The Huntington, placing the couple’s contemporary work in the
context of Old Master paintings, Renaissance bronzes, and 18th-century
French decorative arts and British portraiture.
approximately nine abstract paintings by Vance and 12 domestic-scale
sculptures by Swallow will be installed in an upstairs room of the
mansion that currently displays paintings and examples of decorative
arts associated with family life in 18th-century England. Those works
will be reinstalled elsewhere in the building as a part of an ongoing
Co-curated by Catherine Hess,
chief curator of European art at The Huntington, and Christopher
Bedford, recently appointed Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose
Art Museum at Brandeis University in Boston, “Lesley Vance & Ricky
Swallow” is accompanied by a publication with essays by the curators and
Suzanne Hudson, assistant professor of art history at University of
The works were selected after the
artists studied the residence and its collection. Approximately
one-third of the work on display was made especially for the exhibition.
“Here we have a married couple, who share a studio, collaborating on an
art installation where another married couple lived and assembled a
distinctive art collection a century ago,” said Hess. “The parallels are
interesting to consider.”
Wisconsin native Lesley Vance
is inspired by Old Master painting, including 17tht-century Spanish
still lifes. She often carefully arranges and lights small groups of
objects that she photographs to use as a basis for her abstract
paintings. Of her evolution toward abstraction, Vance said, “There isn’t
much abstract painting that feels warm and intimate. I wanted
abstraction that works like representation, that invites you in.”
Although grand in concept and dramatic in palette and lighting, her
works are small and intimate in scale. They have received increasing
critical acclaim since 2010, when her work appeared in the Whitney
Ricky Swallow grew up in Australia, which he
represented in the 2005 Venice Biennale. Like Vance, Swallow is
interested in the still-life tradition. His most recent sculpture often
takes as a point of departure household objects—such as a lamp, clock,
or cup—that he models in simple materials, including cardboard, then
casts in bronze, and patinates with surfaces that recall ceramic glazes.
The resulting work plays with the perception of medium and object type.
think the introduction of a contemporary art display inside the
Huntington Art Gallery will create a thought-provoking moment that
enlivens the museum visit in a novel way, inspiring people to look with a
fresh perspective on the permanent collections,” said Hess. “Lesley’s
work reflects on the rich tones, technique, and composition of some of
the 18th century British paintings here, though abstracted and produced
on a more domestic scale; while Ricky’s pieces link with some of the
very refined bronze sculpture and porcelain objects in the collection,
though his work takes humble substances and domestic objects as points
of departure. I think our visitors will find the connections between
this work and the artwork in the rest of the house surprising. It’s
interesting how their highly original work feels, at the same time, so
Major support for this project is provided by Laura
and Carlton Seaver. Additional support is provided by the Philip and
Muriel Berman Foundation; Margery and Maurice Katz; David Kordansky
Gallery, Los Angeles; Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London; and Marc Foxx and
Rodney Hill, Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles.
“In Conversation: Lesley Vance and Ricky Swallow with Christopher Bedford”
Sunday, Nov. 11, 2-4 p.m.
Bedford, co-curator of the exhibition “Lesley Vance & Ricky
Swallow” and incoming Henry and Lois Foster Director of the Rose Art
Museum at Brandeis University in Boston, leads a conversation with the
artists in the exhibition and explore issues of inspiration, display,
Huntington Art Gallery. Call Charlotte King at (626) 405-3428 for reservations.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens will publish Lesley Vance & Ricky Swallow at the Huntington,
a companion book to the exhibition featuring essays by Catherine Hess,
chief curator of European art at the Huntington; Christopher Bedford,
incoming director of the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University; and
Suzanne Hudson, assistant professor of art history at the University of
Southern California. The 58-page paperback includes 35 color and six
black-and-white illustrations and will be available for $19.95 at The
Huntington’s Bookstore & More (firstname.lastname@example.org
or 626-405-2142) and from booksellers nationwide. It is distributed by
University of California Press (ISBN 978-0-87328-254-3).
CONTACTS: Thea M. Page, 626-405-2260, email@example.com
Lisa Blackburn, 626-405-2140, firstname.lastname@example.org
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[EDITOR’S NOTE: High-resolution digital images available on request for publicity use.]
About The Huntington
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a
collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars
and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be
found online at huntington.org.
Huntington is located at 1151 Oxford Rd., San Marino, Calif., 12 miles
from downtown Los Angeles. It is open to the public Monday, Wednesday,
Thursday, and Friday from noon to 4:30 p.m.; and Saturday, Sunday, and
Monday holidays from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Summer hours (Memorial Day
through Labor Day) are 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays and major
holidays. Admission on weekdays: $20 adults, $15 seniors (65+), $12
students (ages 12–18 or with full-time student I.D.), $8 youth (ages
5–11), free for children under 5. Group rate, $11 per person for groups
of 15 or more. Members are admitted free. Admission on weekends: $23
adults, $18 seniors, $13 students, $8 youth, free for children under 5.
Group rate, $14 per person for groups of 15 or more. Members are
admitted free. Admission is free to all visitors on the first Thursday
of each month with advance tickets. Information: 626-405-2100 or huntington.org.
Lesley Vance and Ricky Swallow. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.
Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2012. Oil on linen. 17 × 13 in. Image courtesy Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.
Ricky Swallow, Staggered Lamp Study,
2011. Patinated bronze. 11 × 9 × 4 in. Edition of 3 + 1 AP. Image
courtesy the artist and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London and Marc Foxx
Gallery, Los Angeles. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.