White Water, 1989

Hong Kong 2015
Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Oil on linen
Jay DeFeo White Water, 1989 Oil on linen 16 1/8 x 12 inches 41 x 30.5 cm Associated with the Beat Generation and based out of San Francisco, Jay DeFeo, was one of the foremost woman artist of her era. Born in 1929, DeFeo based her work out of Abstract Expressionism, geometric Italian architecture and influenced by Asian, African and prehistoric art. She has displayed works alongside those of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Louise Nevelson at the Sixteen Americans exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1959 and has been collected extensively by the Whitney Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago along with countless others.  “White Water” arose from DeFeo’s struggle with cancer in the late 1980s. During this time, DeFeo continued to paint, albeit on a much smaller scale and reserved herself to a low-key palette. She saw her battles with health like man’s battles against nature; formidable but conquerable nonetheless.The idea of mountain climbing and other references to forces of nature is repeatedly echoed in her later work. Painted in the year DeFeo died, “White Water” dynamic composition is the embodiment of DeFeo’s suffering but unbowed spirit.