Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to open 14 Paintings, an exhibition of work by the late Rudolf de Crignis. This is the artist’s first exhibition at Betty Cuningham Gallery located at 15 Rivington Street, New York. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 22, from 4 – 7 PM.
The exhibition is composed of 6 works on canvas and 8 works on paper, all considered ‘paintings’ by de Crignis. All were completed in the early-to-mid 1990s during a watershed moment in the New York artist’s career when he abandoned his long-standing interest in the organic or figurative qualities of his subjects in favor of a reduced, geometric style. Extraneous elements were pushed to the edge of the picture plane and by the 1990s had disappeared. His works became more meditative. The color became denser and darker in tone; de Crignis turned to oil paint over tempera for its translucent qualities.
To create the works in this exhibition, de Crignis first coated his canvases with layers of gesso, and then using thin veils of oil paint in multiple layers and colors, he painted across the surface with a wide brush – first horizontally and then vertically. Eventually the accumulation of the strokes created a network of fine lines in the paint that allowed the initial layers to shine through. The layering technique functioned “to build up a certain space for the space and the light” ensuring “that everything in the painting is visible… The whole journey of the painting is open.” The works on paper provide a more intimate view but follow the same journey: the lines are drawn or incised, ruled or free hand, effaced or not, into watercolor or tempera.
De Crignis (born Winterthur, Switzerland, 1948; died New York, 2006) studied at the Form und Farbe School for Art and Media Design, Zürich. In 1976, he exhibited in the Swiss Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. His work has been the focus of numerous solo museum exhibitions, including Kunsthalle Winterthur, 1995; Artothek, Cologne, 2001; Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2003; Swiss National Library, Bern, 2006; Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich, 2009; and Berkeley Art Museum, 2013. His works are in numerous public collections, including: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Harvard University Art Museums, Boston, MA; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Berkeley Art Museum, CA; Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN; Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Lenbachhaus, Munich, Germany; Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany; and Kolumba, Cologne, Germany.