Josef Albers Exhibit: Formulation-Articulation

Josef Albers: Formulation-Articulation

Josef Albers Exhibit

September 1, 2007 - October 13, 2007

The Atkinson Museum of Hampden-Sydney College hosts the work of Josef Albers, pioneering twentieth-century artist/theorist and art educator.  A Virginia Museum traveling exhibition, "Formulation: Articulation," will open September 1 and run through October 13.  A panel discussion, The Influence of Josef Albers on Contemporary Artists, is planned at the museum on September 11 at 4:30 p.m.  Chaired by Mary Prevo, art historian at the College, the panel will include artists Beverly Rhoads, Associate Professor at Lynchburg College, and Ray Kleinlein, Visiting Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Hampden-Sydney College. 

Mary Prevo Beverly Rhoads Ray Kleinlein
Mary Prevo Beverly Rhoads Ray Kleinlein

The silkscreen prints in the exhibition, "Formulation: Articulation" come from a limited-edition double-portfolio of the same title conceived by Albers, produced in silk screen under his supervision by Ives-Sillman, and published by Harry N. Abrams in 1972.  Albers selected the images to provide an overview of his life work.  The portfolio as published included 66 pairs of images with his commentary.  The present exhibit has several of those pairs, including prints from his most well-known series, "Homage to the Square." 

"Painting is color acting," Josef Albers once wrote.  "An actor makes us forget his name and individual features.  He deceives us with functions as another than himself." 

Tuesday, September 11
Panel Discussion on the Influence of Josef Albers on Contemporary Artists 
At Museum 

Event Chair, Mary Prevo
Lecturer in Fine Arts, Hampden-Sydney College

    Beverly Rhoads, Associate Professor, Lynchburg College
    Ray Kleinlein, Visiting Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, Hampden-Sydney College

Light refreshments will be served.

Josef Albers was an artist who challenged the art maker and the viewer to see and use color and line in new ways.  In particular he focused on the deceptive nature of perception and the slippery nature of color memory.  "In order to use color effectively it is necessary to recognize that color deceives continually" (Albers, Interaction of Color, 1972).  In his artwork, writings and in his classrooms at the Bauhaus in Germany, the Black Mountain College in North Carolina, and at Yale University, he challenged several generations of students to wrestle with conundrums of perception through trial and error.  He believed fervently that practice comes before theory and that mastery of fundamentals comes before personal expression.

Born in 1888 in Bottrop, Germany, Albers started as an art teacher in the German school system.  At the same time he continued studying art.  On leave from his teaching position, he attended the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1920 to 1923. By the time the school moved to Dessau he had earned an appointment of professor in charge of preliminary design and color in the Bauhaus' foundation course. His teachings were grounded in his own experience and refined through practical studio assignments in his classes.  He took this practice to the United States after the Bauhaus was closed by the Nazis in 1933.  Through his teaching the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina and Yale University and with the publication of his monumental text, The Interaction of Color, Albers influenced color training in art schools around the world. His own work is based on this research has established his place in the history of 20th-century art.

The exhibit is provided by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  The program is cosponsored by the Hampden-Sydney College Fine Arts Department and Atkinson Museum.