JULY 13 – AUGUST 27, 2022
JULY 13 – AUGUST 27, 2022
McClain Gallery is pleased to announce a capsule exhibition of Richard Anuszkiewicz's Centered Squares. Conceived in the late 1970s, this series occupied the artist throughout the 1980s. He ultimately returned to these works in the 2010s before his death in 2020. The paintings on display continue the artist’s focus on the optical possibilities of juxtaposing colors. While Anuszkiewicz is known for his early involvement as an Op artist, the subtle depths of these paintings call forth other associations: mainly the rigorous color theory of his mentor Josef Albers. Anuszkiewicz activates the space around his vividly chromatic squares with radiating lines to suggest volumes of depth. The resulting paintings exemplify the artist’s mastery of the alchemical properties of color; challenging the eye of each viewer while simultaneously suggesting otherworldly, light filled expanses.
Considered a major force in the American Op Art movement and geometric abstraction, Richard Anuszkiewicz (b. 1930, Erie, Pennsylvania; d. 2020, Englewood, New Jersey) was concerned with the optical changes that occur when different high-intensity colors are applied to the same geometric configurations. Anuszkiewicz's work activates the space around his vividly chromatic squares with diagonals radiating lines to suggest volumes of depth. His paintings explore the optical properties of color; challenging the eye of each viewer while investigating formal, structural and color effects. After mentoring with Josef Albers in the 1950s, Anuszkiewicz became known for painting squares of vibratory, complementary hues in his paintings—formally sophisticated but playful compositions that mesmerize in their explorations of light, chroma, and line. Alongside his European counterparts Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely, Anuszkiewicz’s images suggest dimensions far beyond the two they occupied, in many ways treating the human retina as their canvas. The artist, who considered his work deeply spiritual, said once that “Color is my subject matter and its performance is my painting.” Anuszkiewicz’s work is that of experimental art; his fact-finding process uses trial to create the results.
Anuszkiewicz received his bachelor’s degree from Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio in 1953. He studied at Yale University School of Art and Architecture in New Haven, Connecticut from 1953 to 1955, where he earned his Masters of Fine Arts. His works were included in the seminal 1965 exhibition The Responsive Eye at the Museum of Modern Art and along with Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley, he was considered a pioneer of the Optical Art Movement. Life magazine called him “The New Wizard of Op.” His work is included in many important public and private collections including The Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY; The Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, DC; Denver Museum of Art, Denver, CO; Detroit Institute of Art, Denver, CO; Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC.; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. Anuszkiewicz has received a significant number of awards for his work, including a Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship in 1953, the Charles of the Ritz Oil Painting Award in 1963, and the Lorenzo dei Medici Career Award at the Florence Biennale in 2005.