Baldwin shows Mapplethorpe, Halley | AspenTimes.com

Baldwin shows Mapplethorpe, Halley

Aspen Times Staff

Robert Mapplethorpe: Lisa Lyons, a series of photographs of bodybuilder Lyons by the late Mapplethorpe, opens at the Baldwin Gallery with a reception on Friday. ("Lisa Lyon, 1982 © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation")

Aspen’s Baldwin Gallery will host an opening reception Friday for a pair of new exhibits ” new paintings by contemporary artist Peter Halley and photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, featuring his celebrated Lisa Lyon imagery.

The Baldwin Gallery, which focuses new work by established and emerging artists, with a particular focus on American artists, has shown the late Mapplethorpe’s work before. This time, the gallery features his photographs of Lisa Lyon, a bodybuilder (somewhat unusual for women at that time) and the artist’s muse for several years during the early 1980s.

Her close collaboration with Mapplethorpe resulted in a wide selection of images that capture the graceful elegance of the feminine form in balanced compositions of perfect stillness. “The photographs utilize black, white and gray shades to reveal precisely detailed tonal nuances. The delicate play of shadow and light depicts the inherent eroticism and power of the female figure,” says the Baldwin Gallery.

Famous for his celebrity portraits, fashion photography and striking figural images, Mapplethorpe was also known for controversial subject matter. However, he was always concerned with formal beauty and the intrinsic integrity of individual subjects. The artist died of AIDS in 1989 at the age of 42.

Halley’s work, explains the gallery, explores the post-industrial world of high-tech design through precise organizational structures “reminiscent of electronic circuit boards and compressed virtual space. Architectonic forms reference the controlled shapes of prison cells and windows, while metaphoric pathways lead the eye away from the central compositional elements.”

Working consistently with brilliant, synthetic paints on canvas, Halley investigates the sheer optical sensation of fluorescent colors. “Rigid geometric systems convey both urban alienation and high energy activity in these large, high-impact paintings. Infinite variations of color combinations within his signature angular compositional formats continue and expand upon historic formal artistic traditions,” according to the Baldwin promotional literature.

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As professor of art and director of graduate studies in painting and printmaking at Yale University, Halley plays an important role in academia in addition to his work as a practicing artist, the gallery notes. Solo exhibitions of his art have been presented at major museums throughout Europe, the United States and Asia, and his paintings are found in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

The public is welcome at Friday’s reception, from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The gallery is at 209 South Galena St.

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