press release

Kimmerich Galerie is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings by American artist, Deborah Remington, made between 1991 and 2003.

From the 1990s to the early 2000s Deborah Remington’s work underwent a profound evolution. This exhibition presents eight paintings from this period that reflect the deeply felt emotions of the artist in response to growing concerns for her own well-being and to her reaction to the aftermath of 9/11. For anyone living in Lower Manhattan at the time, the rhythm of life was shattered and would not return to normal for many years. Remington’s spacious loft was located not far from the World Trade Center; fortunately she had not yet returned from her summer home in Chester County near Philadelphia. However, difficult times had been brewing for several years prior to the attacks. Her life began begun to change following treatments for cancer in the late 80s and again in the early 90s. With her health and career in jeopardy, the powerful paintings in this exhibition bear witness to the inner turmoil she was experiencing. Yet, it was also an extremely productive period and her work reflected an energized assimilation of emotional ups and downs as well as a backward glance towards the Abstract Expressionist spirit that infused her early work of the 40s and 50s.

It took enormous courage to create radically new work while facing an uncertain future. Her inner resilience shows with every bold brushstroke in these paintings. The fact that brushstrokes were visible at all is an extreme departure from the hard-edge minimalist approach of her mature work from the 70s and 80s featured in the artist’s last exhibition at the gallery in 2016. Fractured, organic forms embedded in tightly controlled, gestural compositions have replaced the surrealistic, shield-like shapes that were rooted in more idealized geometric abstraction. Her palette has exploded in a burst of radiant color: intense reds, rich fertile greens, deep blue-blacks and the occasional crackle of yellow. The distinctive centralized floating forms are still present, albeit as amorphous, nebulous masses. Looking closely though, one senses a living or bodily presence in all of these works. Lustrous white passages in Hebsed and Hydrus, both 1993, splinter apart, hinting at brittle bones or bandages—a body in peril. In Mechelen, 1991, a pulsating red flower bursts open, scattering its seeds into the void. A serious gardener, Remington carefully tended the lilies, tuberoses and dahlias that grew in flowerbeds surrounding her house in Pennsylvania and pulled them up at the end of each summer to be overwintered and replanted the next year. Hebsed, in fact, is titled after an ancient Egyptian festival associated with birth, death and renewal.

Perhaps the most radiant body-like work in this series is Calyd, 1999-2003. An unearthly red glow marks the impact of a glorious explosion, forcing splintered shapes to disperse. The central silver gray element might be read as a mirror or a luminous opening into the unknown. Obsessed with her own mortality, Remington used these works to confront her fears while simultaneously reaffirming life and renewing her spirit through art.