Pilgrims: Drawings 2017 – 2018
April 4 - May 26, 2018
Artist Reception: Friday, April 6, 5pm-8pm
Boston – Steven Zevitas Gallery is pleased to present Pilgrims: Drawings 2017 - 2018, an exhibition of new works on paper by New York-based artist, Chuck Webster. The exhibition will be on view from Wednesday, April 4 through Saturday, May 26, 2018, with an opening reception Friday, April 6.
The work presented in Pilgrims was produced over the past sixteen months, beginning during Webster’s residency at the MacDowell Colony in early 2017 and culminating during his recent stay at The American Academy in Rome. The exhibition’s installation is informed by Roman church architecture. In cathedrals such as Santa Maria Sopra Minerva and Santa Maria del Popolo, artworks situated in each chapel along the nave are presented as distinct aesthetic moments. Accordingly, each grouping of drawings in Pilgrims focuses on a different facet of Webster’s current practice; they borrow from and talk with each other across the room.
For the past year, Webster has been drawing extensively in shellac-based ink on a wide range of vintage handmade paper, which he actively collects. For the first time in his work, Webster has allowed a sense of illusionistic space to emerge. The drawings in Pilgrims depict invented places that are populated by mallet forms, which are, in a sense, forbears of a new kind of figuration. These “actors” play a variety of roles. Webster is interested in how the nature of a painted image changes when it contains a protagonist, or internal drama between actors. To this end, Webster places these forms in situations of great drama – the battles, quests and councils that are traditional subjects of history painting. They are the troops and villagers in Brueghel’s paintings, the cast of Caravaggios’s Martyrdom of St. Matthew, and the army in Turner’s Hannibal and His Army Crossing the Alps. Webster has stated:
As my recent work progressed, I came to feel that the mallet forms in my drawings could represent the self, the other, or the spirit of human connection and inspiration I felt as I sipped on an espresso, walked the Via del Corso, or drew from Michelangelo’s Moses. Rome is a place where history and the present are one, where the contemporary energy of the city and its people echoes the great art of the past. I took some of that energy with me into the studio every day. What I am showing here is the result.
Webster is a recipient of the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was a 2018 National Academy Affiliated Fellow at the American Academy in Rome. His work has been the focus of numerous solo exhibitions, including shows at ACME Gallery in Los Angles, Philip Slein Gallery in St. Louis, and ZieherSmith and Betty Cuningham Gallery, both in New York City. His work is included in numerous private and public collections, including those of the Baltimore Museum of Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art. This is Webster’s fourth solo exhibition at Steven Zevitas Gallery.