Mnuchin Gallery is proud to present Ellsworth Kelly: Singular Forms 1966 –
2009. In celebration of the artist’s ground-breaking contribution to the history
of art— his shaped canvas— the exhibition brings together works created
from singular forms, in singular colors, spanning over forty years. On view
will be important examples of Kelly’s shaped canvases, accompanied by related reliefs and sculpture.
One of the most influential artists of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries,
Ellsworth Kelly is known for his pioneering use of color as form and the powerful
presence of his highly refined shapes. Inspired by both the natural and
constructed worlds, his abstract visual language evokes the arches of a Romanesque
cathedral, the leaves of a grape vine, the rolling hills of a snowy
landscape, and the silhouettes of Matisse’s cutouts. Bridging the spaces between
European modernism, Color Field painting, and Minimalism, Kelly’s
deeply personal style achieves a distinctive timelessness.
This exhibition takes as its focus those works the artist executed from singular— rather than conjoined or composite—
forms. Yellow Piece (1966), the artist’s first shaped canvas, represents Kelly’s pivotal break with the rectangular support
and his redefinition of painting’s figure/ground relationship. With its curved corners and single, all-encompassing
color, the canvas itself becomes the composition, transforming the wall behind it into the picture’s ground. Kelly has
gone on to explore the expressive possibilities of the monochrome shaped canvas throughout his career, and the exhibition
includes examples of this evolution from each of the last four decades. These paintings, ranging from the cool
elegance of Gray Panel II (1977) to the anatomical allusions of Blue Curves (2009), demonstrate the seemingly infinite
range of mood and movement suggested by these singular forms.
Kelly has frequently revisited particular shapes to prove his point, executing them in different dimensions, colors and
mediums to distinctly varied effects. The exhibition highlights such recurring forms, bringing together metal wall
reliefs related to the paintings on view. For example, Red Panel (1982) echoes in painted aluminum the slanted square
of Gray Panel II (1977), while the sweeping arc of Bronze Curve (1987) anticipates the painting Blue Curve (1996) of
nearly ten years later. In addition to the wall reliefs, Kelly’s work in three-dimensions is further represented by Curve
XI (1974), an early example of one of the artist’s totemic sculptures.
Born in Newburgh, New York in 1923, Ellsworth Kelly celebrates his 90th birthday this spring. Mnuchin Gallery joins
the global art world in honoring the occasion. Ellsworth Kelly: Singular Forms: 1966 - 2009 will coincide with: the
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Ellsworth Kelly at 90: Paintings from the Paris Years until Today (April –
June 2013); the Centre Pompidou’s Ellsworth Kelly (April 2013 – January 2014); the Art Institute of Chicago’s Ellsworth
Kelly (May 2013 – May 2014); the Tate Modern’s Ellsworth Kelly: A 90th Birthday Display (May 2013 – April 2014);
The Barnes Foundation’s Ellsworth Kelly: Sculpture on the Wall (May – September 2013); the Matthew Marks Gallery’s
Ellsworth Kelly at Ninety (May – June 2013); the Detroit Institute of Art’s Ellsworth Kelly Prints (May – September
2013); the Museum of Modern Art’s Ellsworth Kelly: Chatham Series (May – September 2013) and the Phillips Collection’s
Ellsworth Kelly: Panel Paintings 2004-2009 (June – September 2013).
Curated by the artist, Ellsworth Kelly: Singular Forms 1966 – 2009 is organized in association with Matthew Marks
MNUCHIN GALLERY 45 East 78 Street New York, NY 10075 T: +1.212.861.0020 www.mnuchingallery.com