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Vija Celmins

Ocean Prints


September 13 - October 26, 2019
526 W 22 Street
Reception Thursday, September 12, 6 - 8 PM


Press Release

Matthew Marks is pleased to announce Vija Celmins: Ocean Prints, the next exhibition in his gallery at 526 West 22nd Street. The exhibition includes all fifteen of Celmins’s prints of the ocean’s surface, a subject of central importance to her oeuvre.

Made between 1970 and 2016, Celmins’s Ocean prints are based on photographs she shot in 1969 from the pier near her studio in Venice, California. By framing the subject carefully, cropping out the shore and the horizon, she creates an unbroken composition that seems to extend in every direction. Celmins has said of these works, “The edge and approaching the edge are important events in my work, especially since the image is defined by it. […] Some people think that I just sit down and copy the photograph. It is precisely that I reinvent it in other terms.”

Celmins first studied printmaking as an undergraduate. Today she is a master printmaker, and the works in this exhibition employ a wide range of techniques, including lithography, drypoint, silkscreen, woodcut, wood engraving, and mezzotint.

Born in Latvia in 1938, Celmins immigrated to the United States with her family at the age of ten, and grew up in Indiana. In 1961 she received a scholarship to study at UCLA, and in 1980, after living in Los Angeles for almost two decades, she moved to New York. Celmins has had one-person exhibitions at numerous museums in the United States and Europe, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Menil Collection in Houston, and the Kunstmuseum Basel. In 2002 the Metropolitan Museum of Art organized the exhibition “Vija Celmins: Prints, 1962–2002,” and in 2015 the Vienna Secession presented an exhibition of her complete graphics. “Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory,” a full-scale retrospective of her paintings, sculpture, drawings, and prints, opens at the Met Breuer in New York on September 24.

Vija Celmins: Ocean Prints is on view at 526 West 22nd Street from September 13 to October 26, 2019, Tuesday through Saturday, from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. For additional information, please contact Jacqueline Tran at 212-243-0200 or jacqueline@matthewmarks.com


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Vija Celmins