Rosemarie Beck: Embroidered Mythologies

Gallery II

September 6 – October 6, 2012

Press Release

Lori Bookstein Fine Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of embroideries by Rosemarie Beck [1923-2003]. This is the third solo show of Beck's work at Lori Bookstein Fine Art.

Rosemarie Beck: Embroidered Mythologies examines the mythological aspect of Beck's late embroideries. The artist often turned to narrative in her work, frequently electing to depict the frenzied climax of various Greek tragedies - the falling of Icarus or the foot race for Atalanta. It seems almost counter-intuitive that Beck was able to imbue her embroideries with such dynamism considering the tedious nature of needlework, however, the rough surfaces and the angularity of the stitches amplify the drama of the story in a way that seems particularly unique to the medium of embroidery.

The artist first began to work with embroidery by decorating blouses as a means to supplement her income. Over time this evolved into autonomous works that developed alongside her paintings into figural compositions. In the late 70s, Beck executed a number of narratives from Greek mythology including the tales of Antigone, Daedalus and Icarus and Atalanta. Indeed, while Beck both painted and stitched these themes, she shows a greater freedom of color in the fabric pieces. Each of her canvases are filled with half-inch long stitches that vibrate in tonal patches of color. Subtle variations in the direction and tonalities of the thread provide a relief-like molding to the work.

In Falling Icarus, from 1983, the attenuated Icarus figure plummets to his death, loosing feathers along the way. Rich reds and deep slate-grey patches articulate his plumage, radiating  in stark contrast to the vibrating rhythm of silvery blue clouds behind him. The figures in the background and the low horizon line force the viewer's eye to the fore to reconcile the monumentality of the central protagonist, whose impending mortality serves as a reminder of the limitations of man.

Rosemarie Beck [1923-2003] studied art history and music at Oberlin College and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. She received additional formal training at the Art Students League and through her mentors, Philip Guston and Robert Motherwell. She has held numerous teaching positions including those at Vassar College, Middlebury College, Queens College and the New York Studio School. Her work is in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Hirshhorn Museum and the National Academy of Design.

Rosemarie Beck: Embroidered Mythologies will be on view from September 6, 2012 through October 6, 2012. An opening reception will be held on Friday, September 7th from 6-8 pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 am to 6:00 pm. For additional information and/or visual materials, please contact the gallery at (212) 750-0949 or at