Evelyn Statsinger: Currents
Apr 8 - Jun 18, 2022
Essay by Dan Nadel
Published by GRAY
Hardcover, 70 pages, English
Ships from Chicago
Published by GRAY, Evelyn Statsinger: Currents is an in-depth volume dedicated to the 2022 exhibition at GRAY New York. This one-of-a-kind volume features full-color illustrations from the exhibition and an in-depth essay by exhibition curator Dan Nadel.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
Curated by New York-based writer and curator Dan Nadel, Currents presents the work of American artist Evelyn Statsinger (1927-2016). The exhibition features the artist's paintings and drawings from the 1980s and 90s, a period in which she developed her most immersive and otherworldly compositions.
Evelyn Statsinger was an artist deeply informed by her impressions of the natural world. Born in Brooklyn in 1927, Statsinger relocated to Chicago in the 1940s to attend the School of the Art Institute. During this time, Statsinger became acquainted with a group of artists known as the Monster Roster and received mentorship and support from notable Chicago figures including Katherine Kuh, Kathleen Blackshear, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In the years that followed, Statsinger began to develop her own unique visual language, relinquishing identifiable forms in favor of surreal compositions based on her observations in nature.
In 1972, Statsinger moved her Chicago studio to a rural 1890s schoolhouse in Allegan, Michigan. The remote property, nestled within the sand dunes and woodlands on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, served as the artist’s home base and allowed Statsinger to closely observe nature in all its orders of magnitude. “When Statsinger would return to downtown Chicago, she imported the outdoors to the city by bringing with her those specially observed bits of matter,” curator Dan Nadel reflects in his essay for the exhibition. “She collected seed pods, shells, twigs, leaves, and stones, which she arranged carefully in her studio. She could go macro or micro with these specimens—making them a subject or finding new details within them.”
At times mysterious, and eluding definitive classification, Statsinger’s intricate compositions describe vast, ethereal worlds that evoke the biological systems and cellular structures of plants as if viewed under a microscope. As art historian Dennis Adrian observed, “The forms which the artist favors often seem drawn from microscopic plant life, the exotic fauna of the sea or from the layered and crystalline structures of the earth itself. Statsinger’s subtle and reverberating colors make ingenious use of unexpected complements and harmonic arrangements in a way that brings to mind the marvelous chromatics of odd biological specimens or rare minerals.”
ABOUT DAN NADEL
Dan Nadel is the Curator at Large for the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis, where he has organized exhibitions on Kathy Butterly, Mary Heilmann, and William T. Wiley. Nadel is the editor of several books, including Peter Saul: Professional Artist Correspondence; The Collected Hairy Who Publications, 1966–1969; and It’s Life as I See It: Black Cartoonists in Chicago, 1940–1980. He has also curated exhibitions including What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art: 1960 to the Present; Suellen Rocca: Bare Shouldered Beauty; Gertrude Abercrombie; and, most recently, Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Nadel, a 2021–2022 Fellow at the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the Graduate Center, CUNY, is currently at work on the biography of underground comic artist Robert Crumb (Scribner, 2024).