Jay DeFeo: A Retrospective

Solo en Inglès

This audio guide features commentary by artist Jay DeFeo, Dana Miller, curator of the permanent collection, Whitney Museum of American Art, Leah Levy, Director, The Jay DeFeo Trust, Corey Keller, associate curator of photography, San Francisco  Museum of Modern Art, Greil Marcus, writer and critic, Ursula Cipa, and Fred Martin, friends of DeFeo.

Jay DeFeo (1929–1989), Untitled (Everest), from the _Mountain_ series, 1955. Oil on canvas, 100 5/8 x 74 1/4 in. (255.6 x 188.6 cm). Oakland Museum of California; gift of Jay DeFeo. © 2013 The Jay DeFeo Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Image courtesy Oakland Museum of California. Photograph by Ben Blackwell


DANA MILLER: In 1954, DeFeo and her husband, Wally Hedrick, who was a fellow artist, moved to a large apartment and studio space on Fillmore Street. That studio space had, I think, 14-foot ceilings. The environment encouraged her or reinforced her desire to return to oil painting on a large scale. 

NARRATOR: DeFeo began working on a group of thickly painted works that she referred to as the Mountain series. This one was subtitled, "Everest." Dana Miller.

DANA MILLER: You get a sense of the geologic quality of the surface, that these almost appear to be rock surfaces with gouges and crevices that one might actually be able to climb on or grab hold of.

NARRATOR: As you'll see, DeFeo used a lot of black, white, and gray. But she objected to the idea that color wasn't important in her work.   

JAY DEFEO: I see it as a low-key palette. I see blacks and whites and grays as having color . . . And I also think that texture becomes--such a close element with the color, the textural quality of it almost takes on a color. And at any rate I use a lot of textural changes in the work, and I think for that reason oftentimes the color is minimalized because the richness is taken over by textural concerns. 

NARRATOR: Tap your screen to hear Dana Miller discuss the Mountain series and the subtitle "Everest."


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