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Ruth Mordecai
Works on Paper

August 6, 2016September 5, 2016

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Trident Gallery is very pleased to present Works on Paper, an exhibition of recent paintings by Ruth Mordecai which extend her vocabulary of abstracted human figures and symbols of human culture.

Works on Paper is Mordecai’s second solo exhibition at Trident Gallery and will be on view August 6 – September 5. Gallery hours during the exhibition are Saturday 10–7; Friday, Sunday, and Monday 10–5; Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday 12–5, and by appointment. The gallery will host a public reception for the artist on Saturday, August 13, 5–7pm, and the gallery will host a conversation with the artist about her work and her artistic process on Sunday, August 21, 4pm.

At the center of the exhibition are the pair of paintings Homage to Matisse and Homage #2, inspired by Matisse’s series of four large relief sculptures of a woman’s back, Back I–IV, created from 1909 to 1930, each one constructed by modifying a cast of the previous sculpture, the style progressing from the naturalism of Back I to the nearly abstract Back IV. Mordecai’s Homage to Matisse echoes and develops Back IV, and Mordecai’s Homage #2 develops the forms of Homage to Matisse even further toward abstraction.

For four decades in sculpture, drawing, paintings, and collage, Mordecai has explored the human figure and its abstractions. In parallel, she has developed a vocabulary of motifs which refer to objects of shared community and culture, such as ladders, orchard fruit, celestial bodies, arches, and baskets. Homage to Matisse and Homage #2 include both human figures and cultural objects and model an impulse of development from representation to abstraction which is refracted and echoed in the 23 smaller paintings in the exhibition. Mordecai’s recent work aims to be ever more inclusive: each painting becomes a kind of container into which icons of what is beautiful and valuable in the world are harmoniously collected and memorialized in expressive, sculpturally collaged forms full of movement and three-dimensional texture. Their dynamic impulse toward abstraction is a transmutation of physical experience into a more enduring holiness.

Ruth Mordecai lives and works in Gloucester, Massachusetts. She earned a BFA and MFA from Boston University School for the Arts, and for 25 years her studio was in Boston’s Fort Point District. Since 2000, she has painted in a studio on Rocky Neck in Gloucester.

Ruth Mordecai’s drawings, paintings, and sculpture are in significant public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel); the Rose Art Museum; and the Wiggin Prints and Drawings Collection of the Boston Public Library. Her work has been shown in Boston, New York, Washington DC, and Gloucester.