“SAN FRANCISCO — You will find yourself walking back and forth through the mesmerizing Vija Celmins exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, returning to earlier work to recollect details and then moving on with wonder and expectation to see how themes and ideas develop and metamorphize. You will also move toward the drawings and paintings to scrutinize their miraculous surfaces, smooth, inscrutable and cold as fruit from the icebox, before backing away to comprehend their totality.
Why is this Latvian-born American genius who is just now receiving her first comprehensive U.S. exhibition in more than a quarter-century, not spoken of in the same breath as Rothko, Rauschenberg, LeWitt or Warhol?
‘Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory’ includes almost 150 works and will travel to the Art Gallery of Ontario in May and to the Met Breuer in New York in September. It covers the artist’s career from early works she made in Los Angeles in the 1960s through the paintings and drawings for which she is best known — meticulous, monochromatic renderings of waves, the night sky and the natural clutter of the desert floor. And it continues up to the current moment, in which her career of more than 50 years continues to unfold with conceptual surprises and delights…”