Cheim & Read is pleased to present Stillness/Flowing, an exhibition of new paintings by Bill Jensen.
The exhibition will run from January 20 through April 2, 2022, at the gallery’s Chelsea location, 547 West 25th Street in New York, celebrating an opening day on Thursday, January 20, from 12 noon to 6 PM. A catalogue with a poem by Phong Bui, the publisher of The Brooklyn Rail, will accompany the exhibition.
Jensen’s new works, dating from 2017 to 2021, continue his exploration of what is possible in the act of painting. His highly personal and deeply researched practice—which includes making much of his own paint and customizing his painting tools—combines spontaneity, allusion, accident, and invention to create an astonishing range of works that plumb the essence of what it means to apply pigment to a surface. While the artist typically works on a relatively modest scale, this exhibition will feature several large, multi-panel paintings. Stillness/Flowing, 2021, and Blue Cupola, 2020-21, are among the largest the artist has ever made.
These paintings feature a motif that recurs across a number of images, a double yin-yang invented by Jensen that represents harmony in all four directions. The shape also serves as the basis of a separate series, Wheel Rim Compass, reflecting his lifelong study of Eastern religions, philosophy, and poetry. The form itself is rooted in a canvas he painted in 1977, Redon, which he and his wife, the artist Margrit Lewczuk, re-acquired in 2019.
Several works, the triptych Blue Cupola and the diptychs Transgressions (Third Study), 2019, and Transgressions Transgressed, 2019-2020, are composed of forms suggestive of Michelangelo’s Last Judgment, 1536–1541, at the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, a reference grounded in the extensive time that the artist has spent living in Italy and absorbing the history of Italian art.
Sista/Sista and Father, Daughters (both 2020-21) and the series With Child (2019-20) speak of deep family ties in glowing color and tender washes, while an entirely different emotional tone is struck by the jarring pigments — acid greens, icy blues, scorching reds — and aggressive strokes, smears, and slashes of the Bitter Chant series (2017-21).
Bill Jensen (born 1945 Minneapolis) came into prominence in the late 1970s in New York City shortly after moving to New York, at which time his work was exhibited at the New Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, including the 1981 Whitney Biennial, and the Museum of Modern Art. In 2016, he exhibited at MoMA PS1 in New York, and in 2021, his work was shown at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in conjunction with the exhibition, A Wild Note of Longing: Albert Pinkham Ryder and a Century of American Art.
His paintings, drawings, and prints have been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at Fischbach Gallery, Washburn Gallery, Mary Boone Gallery, Danese, and Yoshii Gallery in New York; ACME in Los Angeles and Patricia Faure Gallery in Santa Monica; Nielsen Gallery, Boston. This is the artist’s fifth solo exhibition with Cheim & Read. Jensen earned his BFA and MFA from the University of Minnesota in 1968 and 1970. He has lived and worked in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn since 1976.
Jensen's work is in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Dallas Museum of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Boston Museum of Fine Art; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; the Tate, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.