This premier comprehensive retrospective of the artists oeuvre in Switzerland, exhibits the life and works of a truly outstanding artist. As productive as ist was uncompromising, Jaffe´s life was dedicated to painting. Her oeuvre, while attesting to a quest for precision and an audacious embrace of complexity, exudes great energy and élan.
Creditline: © 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich Photo Credit: © Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI / Jean-Christophe Mazur
Born and raised in the United States, Jaffe settled in Paris in the 1950s and over the years devised an unmistakable personal visual idiom. Conceived in cooperation with the Centre Pompidou and the Musée Matisse, Nice, the exhibition showcases 113 works, from Jaffe’s early contributions to Abstract Expressionism to the geometric paintings in large formats that are characteristic of her late oeuvre.
Copyright: © ProLitteris, Zürich Creditline: Private Collection New York Photo Credit: © Alan Wiener
The work she makes starting in 1983 is set apart by the salience of the color white, which initially serves to separate the forms from each other in order to lend them greater independence. The artist’s work from these years also shows her exploring ways in which white can contribute to the dynamic distribution of the color fields on the painting’s surface. Previously segregated forms now sometimes abut in daring geometric constellations. White, in these works, should not be seen as a background color, revealing nuances that vary from painting to painting—no two pictures are executed with white paint of the exact same composition. Jaffe enhances her works with long winding or angular lines that extend across several expanses of color, heightening the impression of overlapping fields.
A final innovation that first appears in 1995 and more forcefully from 2001 onward consists in modulations of the color density within a form. The hitherto organized-dynamic chaos of the paintings and the strictly uniform color fields are leavened by traces of brushwork or diffuse paint structures.
"SHIRLEY JAFFE - FORM AS EXPERIMENT"
25.03. - 30.07.2023
St. Alban-Graben 8