Big Redux: Mural Paintings
November 9, 2015 – April 9, 2016
Tower 49 is pleased to present Big Redux: Friedel Dzubas “Mural Paintings,” a retrospective of the late artist’s large-scale paintings on canvas. The term “mural painting” was used by the artist specifically to describe Crossing, an epic sixty-foot wide continuous-weave canvas, believed to be the largest abstract painting of its kind. Originally commissioned in 1975 by Lewis P. Cabot for the Shawmut National Bank of Boston, Crossing was lost following its de-installation at the bank’s closure in 1991. After searching for over a year, curator Patricia Lewy, discovered that Crossing had exchanged hands through a long series of bank acquisitions that culminated in the collection of Bank of America. Its installation in the Tower49 Gallery lobby space will be the first public exhibition of the work in 24 years, and the first time it has been displayed in New York. Also on view will be eight examples of the artist’s monumental works, which could equally be considered “mural paintings.” All feature luminous viscerally-charged abstractions that flood open fields of canvas with a multiplicity of counterpoised color shapes. Dzubas’s paintings drew on a network of aesthetic influences – from 18th-century frescos by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo to the enveloping surfaces of Jackson Pollock – to create works of ambient atmospheres of visual and emotional force. The Tower 49 Gallery 24th floor exhibition space displays some of Dzubas’s small modelli (acrylic sketches) from which Dzubas scaled up his gargantuan “mural paintings” along with works from the 1960s that feature pulsating color shapes.‘
Friedel Dzubas (1915–1994) was born in Germany and fled the Nazis in 1939, settling in New York City. He began exhibiting abstract expressionist paintings in the 1950s at the Ninth Street Show and had his first solo exhibition at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in 1952, later joining the Leo Castelli Gallery, the Robert Elkon Gallery, and the André Emmerich Gallery. Group exhibitions included the Stable Gallery and French & Co., among others. His work is in the permanent collection of dozens of major institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery.