A Gift of Knowing: The Art of Dorothea Rockburne

Canadian artist Dorothea Rockburne’s studies with mathematician Max Dehn at the legendary Black Mountain College in the early 1950s firmly grounded her artistic practices in astronomy, mathematics and topology. Rockburne relates mathematical theory to the planetary movements and light captured by deep space telescopes. Prime examples include her Geometry of Stardust series (2009–2010) and the colored pencil drawings from her Watermill Series (2013–2015), on public exhibition for only the second time.

Rockburne’s early work can be characterized as Minimalist and process-oriented. Influenced by mathematics—in particular, topology and geometry—as well as by sixteenth-century Mannerism, Rockburne is renowned for her paintings of interrelated shapes, as well as sketches, drawings, watercolors and folded paper constructions. Her works have been exhibited at MOMA and the Parrish Art Museum in New York, as well as the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Rockburne lives and works in New York City.

The title of the exhibition stems from Rockburne’s essay about her friend Ad Reinhardt (1913–1967), in which she recalls his art’s impact upon her: “It is one’s hope, as an artist, to leave a gift of knowing, as Ad Reinhardt did for other artists, so that our visual language can be further explored and built upon.” This exhibition may well be such a gift.

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  • Charlottesville, VA 22903

Region: University Area

The Fralin Museum of Art exhibits art from around the world dating from ancient times to the present day. In addition to its permanent collection, the Museum presents an ongoing schedule of changing exhibitions, accompanied by related programs and publications. The Museum maintains a collection of over 9,000 objects in its permanent collection. The... more