Bell Gallery at Brown University is currently presenting “Luscious: Paintings and Drawings by Wendy Edwards.” Edwards’ bold artworks are marked by her masterly use of color, her exploration of the physicality of media—primarily oil pigments and soft Sennelier pastels—and her abiding commitment to a feminist vision. This retrospective exhibition—including fifty-six paintings and drawings—spans the four decades of work that Edwards has created since joining the faculty of Brown’s Department of Visual Art in 1980.
Edwards came of artistic age in the late seventies, when Pattern and Decoration (P&D) was a prevalent artistic movement. Positioned as a response to minimalism, P&D embraced color—which Edwards acknowledges as foremost among her artistic passions—and decorative patterns drawn from textiles that were often associated with “craft” and gendered as feminine, women’s work. Throughout her oeuvre, Edwards chronicles and responds to experiences relating to her travels, to events in her personal life, and to her interest in nature and natural forms. Iconic compositions of centrally placed objects—flowers, leaves, neckties—appear often in Edwards’ works from the late eighties and continue intermittently to the present day.
Two strains of work have occupied Edwards over the past decade. The first was a foray into collage employing Mexican oilcloth. While in Comillas, Spain, Edwards began to use this patterned material as a convenient substrate for paintings. Later, she combined fragments cut from oilcloth with her distinctive nets. The second strain continues her fascination with natural forms. A series of small-scaled paintings of flowers reveal Edwards’ dialogue with earlier art. The exhibit runs through March 15, 2020.