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Transcending Definition

Jay DeFeo in the 1970s

September 10–October 31, 2020
San Francisco

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Installation view

Artwork © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Works Exhibited

Jay DeFeo, White Shadow, 1972 Acrylic on Masonite, 48 × 37 ⅛ inches (121.9 × 94.3 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, White Shadow, 1972

Acrylic on Masonite, 48 × 37 ⅛ inches (121.9 × 94.3 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Trap, 1972 Acrylic, graphite, and moth on Masonite, 25 × 22 ¾ inches (63.5 × 57.8 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Trap, 1972

Acrylic, graphite, and moth on Masonite, 25 × 22 ¾ inches (63.5 × 57.8 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Lotus Eater No. 1, 1974 Acrylic, graphite, and plastic on Masonite, 72 × 48 inches (182.9 × 121.9 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Lotus Eater No. 1, 1974

Acrylic, graphite, and plastic on Masonite, 72 × 48 inches (182.9 × 121.9 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Tripod series), 1975 Acrylic, graphite, grease pencil, tape, paper, and vellum on paper, 23 ¼ × 19 ⅝ inches (59.1 × 49.8 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Tripod series), 1975

Acrylic, graphite, grease pencil, tape, paper, and vellum on paper, 23 ¼ × 19 ⅝ inches (59.1 × 49.8 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Jewelry series), 1977 Acrylic, charcoal, graphite, and ink on paper, 20 × 15 inches (50.8 × 38.1 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Jewelry series), 1977

Acrylic, charcoal, graphite, and ink on paper, 20 × 15 inches (50.8 × 38.1 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Shoetree series), 1977 Graphite, charcoal, and acrylic on paper, 30 ¼ × 40 inches (76.8 × 101.6 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Shoetree series), 1977

Graphite, charcoal, and acrylic on paper, 30 ¼ × 40 inches (76.8 × 101.6 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Shoetree series), 1977 Graphite, acrylic, and charcoal on paper, 16 × 13 inches (40.5 × 33 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled (Shoetree series), 1977

Graphite, acrylic, and charcoal on paper, 16 × 13 inches (40.5 × 33 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Pend O’Reille No. 1 (Eternal Triangle series), 1980 Acrylic and tape on Masonite, 48 × 72 ⅛ inches (121.9 × 183.2 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Pend O’Reille No. 1 (Eternal Triangle series), 1980

Acrylic and tape on Masonite, 48 × 72 ⅛ inches (121.9 × 183.2 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled, 1980 Charcoal and acrylic on paper, 30 ½ × 22 ½ inches (77.5 × 57.2 cm)© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

Jay DeFeo, Untitled, 1980

Charcoal and acrylic on paper, 30 ½ × 22 ½ inches (77.5 × 57.2 cm)
© 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Robert Divers Herrick

About

I’ve always got to get down there and show what is underneath everything.
—Jay DeFeo

Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of paintings, photographs, and works on paper from the 1970s by Jay DeFeo (1929–1989), organized in association with the Jay DeFeo Foundation.

DeFeo produced a diverse body of innovative work that continues to inspire artists today. The fusion of painting and sculpture found in her masterpiece The Rose (1958–66) has led to international acclaim. First exhibited in 1969, this gigantic impasto canvas spent decades behind a false wall awaiting conservation before being acquired by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 1995. The present exhibition focuses on the artist’s output in the decade following the completion of that pivotal work, when she was based in Larkspur, Marin County.

In 1951, DeFeo traveled in Europe and North Africa before returning to California, where she became an active participant in San Francisco’s thriving Beat scene. After largely withdrawing from the art world during the eight years she spent working on The Rose, she then took a three-year creative hiatus. During the two decades that followed, she made a significant number of paintings, drawings, collages, and photographs that trace a route beyond the formalist approach of many of her contemporaries and toward a more fluid, dynamic creative vision.

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