Jazz Numbers

18 May - 30 June 2018

Join Ellsworth Gallery, 215 East Palace Ave, Santa Fe, NM, for our retrospective exhibition of acclaimed modernist Michael Fitzhugh Wright, featuring a body of never-before-seen work. Having served for decades as Willem de Kooning’s assistant, Wright worked tirelessly to develop his own unique style. As Wright himself has said, “I was influenced by him, but I didn’t want that influence to take over my work.” This is clearly visible in his numbers paintings from the 1990s, the elements of assemblage comprising the painted surface evoking Robert Rauschenberg as much as abstract expressionism. Equally as important to Wright’s artistic development and inspiration were his years in New York spent living in an apartment beneath pianist Duke Jordan, who performed with a number of noted Jazz musicisians, and rehearsed daily with Charlie Parker. Working while accompanied by the inventive staccatos and riffs of jazz eventually led Wright to develop his jazz series, being exhibited for the first time by Ellsworth Gallery. The jazz series shifts from abstraction toward a lyrical figuration and marked differentiation from de Kooning. The delight and whimsy displayed in Wright’s jazz series is echoed by the beauty of  Karolina Maszkiewicz’s stabiles. The California-based artist has developed a refined palette and set of materials that have allowed her to produce works of subtle beauty, most notably in the inclusion of delicate pieces of wood. Aside from the musicality and movement, it is an abiding affection for natural beauty that unites them both, and what drew Wright, who grew up in the woods of New England, to settling in Santa Fe some decades ago.