Rebecca Purdum: Selected Works 1986 to 2021
March 8 - May 14, 2022
“Paint is a catalyst for a unique emotional and aesthetic encounter. It requires a kind of surrender, a kind of transparency on the part of the painter to allow paint to have an effect. When that happens, just like when you let anything alone long enough to be what it is rather than what you want it to be, an encounter occurs which I think is the art of abstract painting.”
Rebecca Purdum, 2007
Tilton Gallery is thrilled to present a selection of paintings by Rebecca Purdum. They span the years from 1986, when she first exhibited with the gallery, through recent paintings from 2021. This will be her eleventh solo show with Tilton Gallery.
Rebecca Purdum is an abstract painter who, from her twenties, has had a clear vision of where her calling lies and has consistently pursued her own path. As an abstract painter, Purdum creates works that are both thoroughly contemporary and uniquely distinguishable from those by other artists.
Purdum searches for meaning in the very act of painting. She paints directly on the canvas surface with gloved hands, giving her, as she once said, the equivalent of ten simultaneous brushes and allowing her to work from within the painting, to become part of the painting.
Purdum creates timeless, often mysterious paintings that emanate an inner light from within their gently varied, often lush colors. There are shapes, but not shapes that you can name; there is nothing descriptive in these works.
In many, colors and paint merge, smoothed over to create a lustrous surface. In others, particularly those of the 2000s, paint strokes hover quietly on the surface and have a textured feel, giving off an almost vibrating sort of light. In recent paintings, somehow both things happen. It is remarkable how, in thirty- five years of work, there is no repetition; each painting is its own exploration of paint, of mood, of an abstract representation of the inner energy of life.
Purdum’s paintings do what the best of abstract – or any – art should do: her work gives one that unnamable depth of experience that silently contributes to one’s understanding of the world. Purdum’s paintings continue to open our eyes to new possibilities in life and in art and deserve a slow and careful look.
Rebecca Purdum, born in 1959 in Idaho Falls, is an artist based in Ripton, Vermont. Her work was included in the 1991 Whitney Biennial and has been featured in exhibitions, among others, at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (1989), the Carnegie Mellon University Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA (1991), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA (1994) and the Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, NH (2003). Her solo exhibitions include Art Now: Rebecca Purdum at the Middlebury Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT in 2007 and Breathing Painting at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture, New York in 2021. Purdum completed the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Summer Residency in 1981 and received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award in 1991, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant in 2005 and the Peter S. Reed Foundation Grant in 2019. Her work is included in the collections of the Hood Museum of Art, the Fort Worth Art Museum, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University and the List Visual Arts Center, MIT. Purdum has been represented by Tilton Gallery since 1986.