Exhibition: 12 February – 18 April
Maddox Arts is delighted to announce the opening of Willard Boepple’s The Sense of Things, an exhibition uniting a broad selection of work by the celebrated, New York-based artist. By placing recent work alongside that of historical pieces the exhibition traces the artist’s trajectory over several decades, following the ebb and flow of his attentions and hopes to present a rounded picture of a career dedicated to the formation of an intuitive, visual language all of his own.
At a first glance the viewer may be challenged to find commonality amongst the different modes and styles utilized by the artist but as Karen Wilkins observes in a recent monograph of the artist’s work published by Lund Humphries:
“The connection between thing and person— proves to be the conceptual thread that links this apparently omnivorous artist’s sources. What all of Boepple’s diverse stimuli have in common is that they are things used, manipulated, or inhabited in some way by human beings”
So we see it is a preoccupation with the anatomy of everyday objects that distinguishes the artist’s oeuvre. By recasting the form of such objects we are invited to reappraise their purpose and glimpse a beauty beyond their common functionality. The utilization of the materials and production methods more commonly associated with industry and design further reinforces our sense of ambiguity towards these objects, as the familiar is recast with a sense of mystery. As the artist himself remarks of his relationship with his artistic forbears:
“Abstract sculpture removed itself from the figure via the Minimalists…It was such an extreme step. By getting back to what the body uses, I can deal with the world we build around us—things like tables and chairs that are part of our visual vocabulary.”
Together the exhibition offers a portrait of an artist, who has consistently found harmony in his surroundings, and who’s work offers us a vision of a world of sentient things who’s real value far outstrips their worldly necessity.
Willard Boepple was born in Bennington, Vermont in 1945, and grew up in Berkeley, California. He studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture (1963), the University of California at Berkeley (1963-64), RISD (1967) and CUNY City College (1968). After teaching at Bennington College and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he returned to New York, where he has lived for over thirty years. He has exhibited widely here and abroad, at galleries including Acquavella, André Emmerich, Tricia Collins and Broadbent Gallery, London. His work belongs to such noted institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Storm King Art Center and The Fitz William Museum in Cambridge, UK. Boepple served as chairman of the Triangle Artists’ Workshop for twenty years, an artist residency program that he helped replicate in Africa and the Caribbean.
The exhibition will coincide with the publication of The Sense of Things by Karen Wilkin printed by Lund Humpries with a forward by Michael Fried, copies of which will be available from the gallery.