October 8, 2014 - March 1, 2015
Above: Polly Apfelbaum, Blow-Up, 1997, stretch velvet, fabric dye. Charlotte E.W. Buffington Fund, 2000.75 © Polly Apfelbaum
Polly Apfelbaum’s exhibition for the Worcester Art Museum will focus on the 1990s and will include a selection of her rarely seen early synthetic velvet and fabric dye works which developed into her now-iconic floor installations (or “fallen paintings”), exemplified by Blow-Up (1997) in the Museum’s collection.
It was during these important formative years, experimenting with various applications of dye (poured, blotted, stamped) and different organizing systems of color (geometric units, organic spills), that Apfelbaum began to challenge the conventional boundaries between painting and sculpture and discovered methods of activating both the space and the viewing experience. Her choice of velvet opened the work up to an array of associations from clothing and craft to gender and class.
Because they have no fixed configuration (individual elements are not permanently adhered to one another or the floor and are reorganized each time they are installed), Apfelbaum’s works resist the historic qualifiers of finish and permanence and instead embrace a sense of immediacy and possibility.
This project is supported by the Don and Mary Melville Contemporary Art Fund.