In an intimate two-work installation located next to our Taxdal Galleries, we present an instructive opportunity for viewers to engage in an exercise in close looking and to better understand the artistic process. With two dramatically differently-scaled versions of Gabriela Gonzalez Dellosso’s The Recyclers (2009) hung side-by-side, visitors will gain greater insight into how the artist created her imaginative contemporary spin on Old-Master-style painting. While we have featured the larger of the two paintings, measuring in at 40 by 60 inches (and a crowd-pleaser), in our inaugural affiliation exhibition, The Figure in American Art, the painted study for the work is a more recent addition to our permanent collection. Recalling Caravaggio in its manner, the humorously melodramatic painting depicts four figures in the midst of an argument over the apparent fates of the recyclable and compostable goods they carry. These everyday household items are also the painting’s cleverly modernized “traditional” still-life objects. Who is in the wrong here? What exactly are they arguing about? Dellosso leaves the narrative wonderfully open-ended.
In building study collections of individual American figurative artists (inclusive of their drawings, models, and unfinished pieces), the Museum strives to offer unusual chances like these, to learn not only about great artists but also about the techniques that underline their finished works of art. Here, we provide the literal material history of a single painting: these two oil on canvas works — one, the small preparatory “sketch” (although much too finely-painted to truly be called a sketch), and the other, the fully-realized composition — give us an exciting glimpse into Dellosso’s thoughtful, deliberative process of art historical homage.
H. Alexander Rich, Ph.D.
Curator & Director of Galleries & Exhibitions