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Vija Celmins

written by Lane Relyea

Phaidon Press | ISBN 9780714842646

Paperback – 160 pages

Part of the Contemporary Artists series.


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Primarily a painter of still-life and landscape, Vija Celmins (b. 1938, Latvia; moved to the US in 1949) is a major international figure associated with 1960s Pop Art. Her unique, technically impeccable paintings and drawings choose as their subject matter 'impossible imagery': from exploding planes and burning houses from her childhood memories in wartorn Latvia; to vast natural landscapes such as open seas, deserts and night skies; to undefinable spaces like the LA freeway; and natural objects, including desert rocks and spider webs. A highly respected figure in contemporary art, Celmins was awarded the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award (in Art) in 1996 and in 2004 was nominated for the Smithsonian's highly prestigious Lucelia Award. Vija Celmins' magnificent artworks all testify to her undying fascination with the world around her - whether the commonplace objects in her studio; the natural landscapes of her adopted California; or the pebbles beneath her feet. Like the night skies she began in the 1980s, hers are 'unbound spaces...wrestled' into two-dimensions, the artist has said. As with her later spider webs, Celmins often blurs the boundaries of photography, painting, printmaking and drawing. Now based in New York, Celmins has exhibited widely since the 1960s.

Artist: Vija Celmins

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