JUANITA GUCCIONE: DEFIANT ACTS
Presented with Weinstein Gallery
On view September 13-November 1, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, September 13, 5:00pm-8:00pm
Lecture: Susan Aberth, "Women in Surrealism" Sunday, September 14, 2014 3:00pm
Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday 10:00am-3:00pm, nights and weekends by appointment
In Seligmann's Studio
Juanita Guccione (1904-1999) is one such artist whose work--and life--mirrored the radically creative and philosophical underpinnings of Surrealism. After a childhood in Massachusetts and Brooklyn, Guccione became a fashion model in New York City in the 1920s; rather than falling into the romantic role of 'muse,' she studied at the Art Students League before venturing to France, Italy and Greece, supporting herself through portrait commissions. From there she sailed to Egypt, eventually settling in 1931 in Bou Saada, an artists' colony in Algeria, amongst the Ouled Nail tribe. Traveling among Bedouin nomads in the Sahara, she produced a diverse oeuvre of portraits and landscapes that in1935 would be exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum, alongside works by Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. After the birth of her son in 1934, Guccione returned to New York, designing murals with David Alfaro-Siqueiros for the Works Progress Administration and studying for seven years with Hans Hofman. Guccione infused social realism, cubism, surrealism and abstraction with her own indefinable and audacious style, creating an independent mythology and challenging social conventions in her art and life. Women populate her canvases in wonderland environments, alongside animals, architecture, and fantastical landscapes, at times hinting to world events, other times mystic explorations. The writer and poet Anais Nin said of Juanita, "Few people can paint the world of our dreams with as much magic, precision and clarity." Guccione's work continued to evolve and elude the interpretations of critics worldwide-- ultimately to her peril, as her name and art fell into relative obscurity.
The art critic Michael Welzenbach of the Washington Post writes that Guccione's "single-minded approach to her work, (her) willingness to follow its development wherever that might lead...locates (her) squarely among the few but formidable ranks of the modernist avant-garde--a group whose integrity and vision will not be seen again in this century."
Renowned author and art historian, Susan L. Aberth wrote the first monograph on the artist Leonora Carrington, Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art (2010), and is currently writing for the upcoming monograph of Juanita Guccione. Susan is recognized for her research in the fields of women artists and the Surrealist movement, as well as all Latin American art. She received her PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is currently an Associate Professor of Art History at Bard College.
The exhibition and lecture are presented in partnership with Weinstein Gallery of San Francisco, California. The exhibition and lecture will be presented in Seligmann's Studio. Admission is free.
Juanita Guccione, Symphony in Orange, Oil on canvas, 27 x 34", 1937