9/03/2021 PHILLIPS MUSEUM OF ART

Vivian Springford

 Susan and Benjamin Winter Visual Arts Center: September 7-October 29, 2021

Vivian Springford, an American abstract painter, was active in the New York art world during the 1950s through the 1970s. While Springford started her career in portraiture, she soon ventured into abstract expressionism drawing inspiration from Chinese calligraphy, Taoism, and Confucianism. By the 1970s, Springford had developed her own individual color field painting process. Her technique of using thinned paint on a raw or thinly-primed canvas led to the creation of her own style of stain painting. Springford became a master at this difficult and time consuming process to achieve the desired pattern and concentrations of pigmentation. While Springford continued to paint through the mid-1980s, she led a private lifestyle and became more withdrawn as macular degeneration led to blindness. During her lifetime, many of Springford’s paintings were stored in her studio in Chelsea. Today, her works are being rediscovered though exhibitions, with a resurgence in appreciation for her distinct style of artwork.

Springford once said that to her, painting was an attempt to identify with the universal whole...

"I want to find my own small plot or pattern of energy that will express the inner me in terms of rhythmic movement and color. The expansive center of the universe, of the stars, and of nature is my constant challenge in abstract terms.”

Paintings lent from the Springford Collection of Barri and Les J. Lieberman, ‘78.

Thumbnail Image Credit: Untitled, Martinique Series, 1974. Acrylic on canvas, 89 x 88 ⅛ x 1 ½”.

  • Vivian Springford. Untitled, c. 1968. Water-based media staining on asian-style paper, 27 ½ x 27 ½”. Image Credit: Vivian Springford. Untitled, c. 1968. Water-based media staining on asian-style paper, 27 ½ x 27 ½”.
  • Untitled, 1973. Acrylic on canvas, 79 ⅞ x 79 x 1 ½”. Image Credit: Untitled, 1973. Acrylic on canvas, 79 ⅞ x 79 x 1 ½”.
  • Untitled, 1975. Acrylic on canvas, 69 ¾ x 69 ¾ x 1 ½”. Image Credit: Untitled, 1975. Acrylic on canvas, 69 ¾ x 69 ¾ x 1 ½”.
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