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Mary Weatherford

I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By

September 13–October 15, 2018
555 West 24th Street, New York

Installation view with Mary Weatherford, Cock Robin (2018) Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view with Mary Weatherford, Cock Robin (2018)

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view with Mary Weatherford, Wells of Jade (2018) Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view with Mary Weatherford, Wells of Jade (2018)

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view with Mary Weatherford, 2018 (2018) Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view with Mary Weatherford, 2018 (2018)

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Installation view

Artwork © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Works Exhibited

Mary Weatherford, The Gate, 2018 Flashe and neon on linen, 112 × 103 inches (284.5 × 261.6 cm)© Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Mary Weatherford, The Gate, 2018

Flashe and neon on linen, 112 × 103 inches (284.5 × 261.6 cm)
© Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Mary Weatherford, Cock Robin, 2018 Flashe and neon on linen, 117 × 234 inches (297.2 × 594.4 cm)© Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Mary Weatherford, Cock Robin, 2018

Flashe and neon on linen, 117 × 234 inches (297.2 × 594.4 cm)
© Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Mary Weatherford, Athena, 2018 Flashe and neon on linen, 117 × 104 inches (297.2 × 264.2 cm)© Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Mary Weatherford, Athena, 2018

Flashe and neon on linen, 117 × 104 inches (297.2 × 264.2 cm)
© Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

About

Gagosian is pleased to present I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By, new paintings by Mary Weatherford. This is her first solo exhibition with the gallery.

Weatherford makes large paintings comprising grounds of spontaneously sponged paint on heavy linen canvases surmounted by one or more carefully shaped and placed colored neon tubes. The canvas—prepared with white gesso mixed with marble dust, and worked on with Flashe paint, a highly pigmented but readily diluted emulsion—supports startlingly diverse applications of color. The surface of the paint ranges from matte and velvety to transparent and translucent. The canvas is at times densely filled, reading as a painterly continuum; at others, it shifts in color from edge to edge of the painting; and at yet others it contains clusters of marks set in relatively bare surroundings. And the color itself varies significantly: blurred blues, muted yellows, and carnival reds; mineral hues, evoking slate or steel; pinks suggestive of fruit or flesh; and many different blacks, recalling shiny feathers.

The neon tubes attached to these fields of color advance a unique practice that Weatherford began in 2012, inspired by illuminated signs along the streets of old Bakersfield, California. In her use of neon, she transformed what had previously been used for advertising—and had been appropriated as such by earlier artists—into a radically new form of pictorial drawing. Casting an industrial light onto the fields of color, the neon tubes read as hand-drawn lines across the surface, although they are sometimes so bright that they are blinding to look at, creating afterimages. Weatherford has used one or as many as five individual tubes, often bent away from the surface, and on occasion extending beyond the edges of the canvas. The cords for the neon fixtures make their own layer of drawing on top of the painting, and lead down to large magnetic transformers sitting like anchors on the floor.

While Weatherford’s previous paintings have mainly made reference to the experience of places or climates, her new ones find their inspiration in situations and events. Drawing upon her responses to current events and her experience of premodern narrative pictorial compositions, she thinks of these new canvases as aspiring to the function of earlier history paintings that tell of actual or mythological happenings to invoke fundamental and topical concerns.

Weatherford’s first survey exhibition will be presented at the Tang Museum at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, in February 2020, and will travel to the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in September 2020.

Mary Weatherford: I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By

Mary Weatherford: I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By

Taking viewers behind the scenes during the installation of Mary Weatherford’s I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By at Gagosian, New York, this video features interviews with the artist and John Elderfield.

Takashi Murakami cover and Andreas Gursky cover for Gagosian Quarterly, Summer 2022 magazine

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Summer 2022

The Summer 2022 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, with two different covers—featuring Takashi Murakami’s 108 Bonnō MURAKAMI.FLOWERS (2022) and Andreas Gursky’s V & R II (2022).

Mary Weatherford, The Flaying of Marsyas—4500 Triphosphor, 2021–22 (detail), Flashe and neon on linen, 93 × 79 inches (236.2 × 200.7 cm). Photo: Fredrik Nilsen Studio

Mary Weatherford: The Flaying of Marsyas

Coinciding with the 59th Venice Biennale, an exhibition at the Museo di Palazzo Grimani in Venice presents new paintings by Mary Weatherford inspired by Titian’s The Flaying of Marsyas (1570–76). Francine Prose traces the development of these works.

Mary Weatherford, Orion’s Belt, 2016, Flashe and neon on linen.

Mary Weatherford: Train Yards

Mary Weatherford speaks to Laura Hoptman about her new paintings, the Train Yard series. Begun in 2016, this body of work evokes the sights and sounds of railroads and night skies. The series will be shown for the first time in late 2020, in an exhibition at Gagosian, London.

Mary Weatherford

Work in Progress
Mary Weatherford

We visit the artist’s California studio as she prepares for her exhibition I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By. She speaks with Jennifer Peterson about her new paintings, her studio process, and the artists who have inspired her.

After Frankenthaler: An Interview with Katy Siegel

After Frankenthaler: An Interview with Katy Siegel

Art historian Katy Siegel discusses her recent exhibition at the Rose Art Museum and publication “The heroine Paint”: After Frankenthaler with Gagosian’s Alison McDonald.

News

Georg Baselitz: Years later (New York: Gagosian, 2020)

Book Fair

Taipei Art Book Fair 2020

November 13–15, 2020
Huashan 1914 Creative Park, Taipei
taipeiartbookfair.com

Gagosian is pleased to participate in the Taipei Art Book Fair 2020 as a guest of Taipei Dangdai. Taipei Dangdai has invited its 2020 exhibitors to each showcase three new publications in its booth. Gagosian will present Georg Baselitz: Years Later, which documents a recent exhibition of new works by the artist at Gagosian, Hong Kong; an exhibition catalogue on Brice Marden’s latest paintings and works on paper, which continue the Letter series he initiated in 2006; and Mary Weatherford: I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By, which documents the artist’s 2018 exhibition at Gagosian, New York, featuring large paintings onto which neon light tubes are attached. To attend the fair, purchase tickets at taipeiartbookfair.com.

Georg Baselitz: Years later (New York: Gagosian, 2020)

Photo: Antony Hoffman

Artist Spotlight

Mary Weatherford

June 17–23, 2020

Mary Weatherford makes large paintings comprising grounds of spontaneously sponged paint on heavy linen canvases, often surmounted by one or more carefully shaped and placed colored neon tubes. The canvas—prepared with white gesso mixed with marble dust and worked on with Flashe paint, a highly pigmented but readily diluted emulsion—supports startlingly diverse applications of color, while the surface of the paint ranges from matte and velvety to transparent and translucent. Weatherford’s use of color and light is based on her direct experience of specific locations, as well as her memories of such experiences.

Photo: Antony Hoffman

Mary Weatherford: I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By (New York: Gagosian, 2020)

Online Reading

Mary Weatherford
I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By

Mary Weatherford: I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By is available for online reading from June 17 through July 16 as part of Artist Spotlight: Mary Weatherford. Documenting Weatherford’s 2018 exhibition at Gagosian in New York, her first with the gallery, it features a new essay by curator and art historian John Elderfield that examines how this body of work evokes not just landscapes, but specific events and narratives. The plate section is interspersed with examples of Weatherford’s varied source material, including a nursery rhyme, a page of sheet music, and an entry from artist Agnes Pelton’s journal.

Mary Weatherford: I’ve Seen Gray Whales Go By (New York: Gagosian, 2020)