Jay DeFeo,view of the exhibition Jay DeFeo, galerie frank elbaz, paris, france, 2016 Photo: Raphaël Fanelli
Galerie frank elbaz is proud to announce the first Paris solo exhibit of the mythic American artist Jay DeFeo. The exhibit offers a unique selection of artworks spanning DeFeo’s career in the media of collage, photography, drawing and painting. Each work is a vivid example of DeFeo’s fascination with the magic in everyday objects, the fragmented, the disguised, and the mysterious. Placing itself in the context of a “Beat Summer”, the exhibit will find echoes in the Centre Pompidou's exhibition Beat Generation (June 21 - October 3, 2016) as well as in galerie frank elbaz's curated boothCollaborative Mysticism: Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner & Jay DeFeo at Art Basel Feature (June 16-19, 2016).
DeFeo was a central figure of San Francisco's vibrant community of Beat artists, poets, and musicians. Best known for her monumental painting The Rose (1958–66, Collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art ), DeFeo created an astoundingly diverse range of works in painting, collage, works on paper, sculpture, photography and even jewelry in her four decades of making art. The selection of works at galerie frank elbaz aims to show the relationship among her works and the various iterations of a subject and image. One example, Tuxedo Junction (1965/1974), to be shown at the Centre Pompidou, was made of fragments of a 1965 work called The Estocada that was abandoned when she left her Fillmore Street studio in 1965. Before turning these fragments into a new work, she photographed them repeatedly in 1973 producing texture studies represented by three photographs in the galerie frank elbaz exhibition.
“With Jay, everything was material. I mean, the way she saw the world, everything was a possible material used for her process. That was always exciting to be around. I remember her walls were covered with images that she turned upside down, looked at, reused. If she broke a glass she would keep the shape around, because it just suggested something else to her. Everything was material for her. She was constantly looking all of the time.”
Ursula Cipa, artist and friend
Jay DeFeo (1929 -1989) grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. She studied art at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving her masterof fine arts degree in 1951. Upon graduation, the university awarded her a fellowship, which she used to travel through Europe and North Africa in 1951 and 1952, lingering in Paris and Florence to create her first body of mature works. After returning to the Bay Area in 1953, the art she began making incorporated the dualities of representation and abstraction, organic rhythms and geometric form, refinement and expressionism. DeFeo worked with unorthodox materials to explore the broadest definitions of sculpture, drawing, collage and painting. In 1958, DeFeo began work on “an idea that had a center to it” and almost eight years later, in 1966, completed The Rose, a monumental work created with so much oil paint that she called it “a marriage between painting and sculpture.”
Jay DeFeo's work has been seen previously in Paris in the exhibitionsTraces of the Sacred (2008), curated by Jean de Loisy, and in the Palais de Tokyo’s The Third Mind, curated by Ugo Rondinone (2007).