Friday, July 7, 2017

Anna Zemánková

I recently had the pleasure of seeing the Anna Zemánková exhibition at The Good Luck Gallery. I had never heard of this artist, but after seeing a few images in a gallery announcement, I was compelled to go see the works in person. They are lovely. Quiet and bold, strange and alien, they are embellished, exaggerated, otherworldly floral-like creations made from crayon, ink and pastel.  Some of her works -- my favorites -- also include fabric, beading and embroidery.  They truly are a wonder to see. 

The exhibition at the The Good Luck Gallery runs trough July 9, 2017. If you have a chance to see the exhibition this weekend, DO IT.  If you can't make it, somehow remember her name and try to see the works in person someday. They are magical.

Please note, all of these works are NOT in the above-mentioned exhibition. I have scoured as many sources as I could to get a better feel for her works, and pretty much just put them here for my viewing pleasure.  :]  Yep, I'm obsessed! Just fab!

About the artist:

“I am growing flowers that are not grown anywhere else,” said Anna Zemánková in describing her artwork. Throughout her often troubled life Zemánková cultivated a unique personal botany in crayon, ink and oil pastel, creating her own singular realm of emotionally-charged lyrical abstraction.
Zemánková was born in Moravia (today part of the Czech Republic) in 1908.  She worked as a dental technician before marrying a military officer and subsequently dedicated herself to raising four children, one of whom, her first-born son, died in infancy - a tragedy that Zemánková never completely recovered from.

It wasn’t until Zemánková was in her early fifties that she started drawing. One of her sons, a sculptor, provided her with materials and encouraged her to produce art as an antidote for the persistent melancholy that afflicted her. During the pre-dawn hours, while the rest of the world slept, Zemánková listened to classical music and drew anomalous biomorphic forms that quivered and pulsated with a life of their own; stamens that rippled like electrical currents; tendrils that twined, spiraled and unfolded into otherworldly blossoms. These subtle and delicately-hewn drawings exude a powerful presence.

In the absence of gallery shows, Zemánková held “open house” exhibitions every few years, and her work came to the attention of Jean Dubuffet who included several of her pieces in the Collection de l’Art Brut Lausanne, the world’s most notable collection of Outsider Art.

Although her subject matter remained much the same, a number of different phases – marked by her adoption of new mediums, including collage, embroidery, and bead-work – define Zemánková’s artistic career. She was a restless, questing spirit who kept working even after both of her legs were amputated due to severe diabetes.

In 1979, Zemánková achieved significant recognition when she was featured alongside Henry Darger, Martín Ramírez and others in the groundbreaking group show at London’s Hayward Gallery that was the first major exhibition to give art world exposure to self-taught visionary artists. More recently, eighteen of Zemánková’s works were included in the seminal 2013 Venice Biennale, organized by Masimilliano Gioni, director of New Museum, NY—the first time in the venerable contemporary art exhibition’s 118 year history that the work of Outsider artists was represented.

Thirty years after her death, interest in Zemánková has never been greater. Shows of her work will be up this summer at the Collection de l’Art Brut Lausanne and the Cavin-Morris Gallery in New York, while at the Good Luck Gallery in Los Angeles we are delighted to be presenting the first ever solo exhibit of Zemánková’s art in California, where her rarely-seen beaded and embroidered works will be shown, as well as many collages and drawings.


DUTA said...

Delicate works of art, and a very interesting biography of the artist! Thanks for sharing.

Lorena said...

You know that my art knowledge and ability to appreciate it is almost null so I am always looking forward to these posts, where coming from you J it's gotta be good :)
I like the simplicity of these and they remind me a bit of Polish embroideries.