The magnificent artworks of the Latvia-born, U.S.-based Vija Celmins (b.1938) all testify to her undying fascination with the world around her - whether commonplace objects in her studio, the natural landscapes of her adopted California, or the pebbles beneath her feet. Primarily a painter of still life and landscape, Celmins is associated with 1960s Pop art and often uses photographs to create her signature 'impossible images', such as just-fired revolvers or exploding airplanes.
Temporarily abandoning painting in the 1970s, Celmins turned her attention to drawing exquisite graphite seascapes and other vast natural landscapes. Like the night skies she began in the 1980s, the artist explains, hers are 'unbound spaces' wrestled into two-dimensions. As with her later spider webs, Celmins often blurs the boundaries of photography, painting, printmaking and drawing.
Now based in New York, Celmins has exhibited widely since the 1960s in museums such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the ICA, London; Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; and the Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt.
In the Interview noted artist Robert Gober speaks with Celmins about their differing studio habits and the sources behind her work. Critic Lane Relyea surveys the artist's long and unique career with emphasis on her formative early paintings. Art historian and theorist Briony Fer in her Focus takes a deep look into Night Sky no. 19 (1998). In parallel to Celimins' own limitless depiction of the world, the Artist's Choice is Jorge Luis Borges' tale Funes the Memorious, about the vastness of human memory. Arists Writings include excerpts from her important 1991 interview with artist Chuck Close.