The Directors of Marlborough New York are pleased to present Stephen Hannock’s recent body of work in an exhibition showcasing the artist’s renowned luminous landscapes. At the center of the exhibition will be A Recent History of Art in Southern California (Mass Moca #165), 1998–2021, shown completed for the first time after 23 years in the making. It will be accompanied by one of the artist’s emblematic oxbow paintings, as well as a number of small paintings that articulate Hannock’s diverse palette and artistic maturity. The exhibition will open on Friday, May 14, 2021, and will remain on view through Friday, July 2, 2021.
A Recent History of Art in Southern California (Mass MoCA #165) is a panoramic quadriptych of the Los Angeles basin depicted in the city’s cinematic twilight. The ambitious work celebrates the recent prominence and autonomy of the city's contemporary art scene on the heels of the groundbreaking Pacific Standard Time exhibitions. Beyond the anchoring visual topography of Los Angeles, there is an entirely imaginary landscape; the painting was synthesized from a composite viewpoint somewhere along Mulholland Drive, the Stone Canyon Reservoir and the iconic Hollywood sign. It incorporates the artist’s handwritten texts and photographs—these instances of diaristic “interjection,” in essence, turn the expansive vista into a geographic self-portrait.
The exhibition will also showcase the Hogsmill River Oxbow, Flooded: For Bridget, 2018, an homage to the artist’s late wife, and muse, Bridget Watkins. The oxbow is one of Hannock’s most celebrated themes, which is based on the seminal painting by Thomas Cole, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, 1836, one of the American masterpieces in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Cole’s depiction of the oxbow embodies many ideals of the young nation, coalescing visions of manifest destiny, the picturesque and sublime.
In Hannock's work, the oxbow is reclaimed as a stage for his autobiographical narrative, culling written and photographic references from a multiplicity of influences that range from 19th and 20th Century painters to artists working today. In this instance, Hannock embeds Gregory Crewdson’s contemporary adaptation of Shakespeare’s Ophelia—shown rife with suburban anxiety and disquiet—whose claustrophobic entrapment is of particular symbolic importance to the artist. As the river bends, we find an image of Georgia, the artist’s daughter, who symbolizes the optimism of spring, rebirth and continuity. The work will be accompanied by a series of small studies of Ophelia that expound upon the artist’s practice and subtle modulations of light.
Stephen Hannock's work is part of a number of notable museums and public collections: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA; The Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; The Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT; Bodleain Library, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK; among numerous other collections. Hannock curated the exhibition, River Crossings: Contemporary Art Comes Home (2016), held at Thomas Cole National Historic Site, Catskill, NY and Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY, which brought together 30 renowned contemporary artists.
Stephen Hannock has had notable exhibitions at the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, VT (2012); Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA (2010); Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, UK (2009); The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH (2006), and most recently, at Marlborough Fine Art, London, UK (2018). In 2016, Hannock was selected for inclusion in The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings, a monumental volume that celebrates the greatest and most historically important paintings from the collections of the museum.
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