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Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Nellie King Solomon

BEYOND: Works by Nellie King Solomon and Barbara Stauffacher Solomon

For the exhibition at SMoCA, and for the first time, the work of mother and daughter artist is shown in proximity.

Sep 19, 2020 - Jan 31, 2021

To think outside of the box is to approach a problem, or a question, in a creative way. In the case of the two artists, Nellie King Solomon and Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, they take a critical, yet playful eye to their chosen fields. Both trained as architects but were never licensed, which might explain the way they establish rules, grids, or frameworks, only to challenge their very existence. At the heart of each unique artistic practice lies the confident ability to think and explore beyond the frame.

Perhaps best known for her Supergraphics—graphics oversized to the scale of architecture, produced in the 1960s—artist Barbara Stauffacher Solomon (b. 1928, San Francisco) has worked in graphic design, architecture, landscape architecture, drawing, writing, and more. Around the walls of the gallery, the exhibition features utopian drawings from her Green Architecture series (mid 1980s), large green Ping Pong paintings (early 1990s), a recent series of Alphabet drawings (2019), and a Supergraphic intervention (2020). In the middle of the gallery is a re-creation from the 1990 exhibition, Visionary San Francisco, at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art that features ping pong tables for play.

Nellie King Solomon (b. 1971, San Francisco) approaches painting with equal parts irreverence and admiration. The exhibition features recent and never-before seen large-scale works that use abstraction and realism to tell stories, resulting in experiential paintings. In lieu of canvas and brushes King Solomon paints on the sharp industrial material of Mylar using custom wood and glass tools for pulling the paint around in sweeping, gestural marks. Bold colors and unusual materials, like asphalt, swirl about, captivating the senses and revealing the tension between spontaneity and rigor at work in her practice.

For the exhibition at SMoCA, and for the first time, the work of mother and daughter artist is shown in proximity. While both artists explore the physicality of the space, they are also interested in the potential of performance in constructing art. Although their formal approaches are quite different, both artists are engaged in moving beyond established expectations of art, design, and architecture. As we look to new ways of doing just about everything, now is the right moment to encourage the out of the box thinking that these artists so readily exemplify.

Organized by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Curated by Jennifer McCabe, director and chief curator.

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