George Woodman's screenprints, c. 1960s-70s: STAFF PICKS

Lissa McClure, The Woodman Family Foundation’s Executive Director:

When I began at the Foundation three years ago, after knowing Betty and George for over a decade, I thought I knew most of the work each of the Woodmans had made. I soon realized how wrong I was! One of the biggest surprises, and a pure delight, was encountering George Woodman’s early prints from the ‘60s and ‘70s. I had seen a few of these prints framed and on the wall while visiting the Woodmans at their loft, but hadn’t realized they were George’s. He had shown me his photographs and I’d seen some of his later figurative paintings but I hadn’t known his earlier work. Over the last few years, I’ve had the great pleasure of viewing many of George’s early abstract paintings, and I’ve been bowled over by their sophisticated systems, tessellations, and mastery of color. But something about the prints—their small scale, wildly idiosyncratic palettes, and bold, confident calculations—were a revelation. For me, the prints embody George’s genius with color and pattern, literally pulsating off the paper. He seems to have felt a freedom in this medium, which didn’t require the painstaking time that his paintings from the period did. Instead, George harnessed a variety of small, unfettered gestures in each design. They’re rooted in the tile patterns that inform his early paintings, but feel more joyful, playful, and experimental. Garishly bright neon colors somehow wend their way through with unexpected elegance. Many of the color combinations should absolutely not work, but they do— to wondrous effect.

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