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Essence of the Orb

June 4 – August 20, 1998


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Artists included in this exhibition: Mary Bauermeister, Emil Bisttram, Lee Bontecou, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Adolph Gottlieb, Morris Graves, Raymond Jonson, Yayoi Kusama, Norman Lewis, Alfonso Ossorio, Richard Pousette-Dart, Martin Puryear, Anne Ryan, Charles Seliger, Lenore Tawney, Toshiko Takaezu, Pavel Tchelitchew, Mark Tobey, and Charmion von Wiegand

Essence of the Orb is an exhibition of twenty artists who have consistently gravitated toward the form of the orb. The orb, simultaneously charged with celestial, sexual, and embryonic implications, consistently appears in the work of numerous twentieth-century artists attempting to express the intangible in pictorial terms. Whether or not an artist is conscious of his or her use of the form, the orb appears and, as defined as defined by Jungian philosophy, communicates to the "collective unconscious".

For millenniums, cultures have worshipped and been inspired by the most fundamental aspects of life; the mysteries of the cosmos, the wonderment of sex and birth, and the finality of death. More recently, with scientific advances, microscopic cellular life has also become part of the visual world. In addition to nature and the physical world, artists have sought truths in Eastern beliefs and have been inspired by sacred signs and symbols like the mandala and tantric designs. Essence of the Orb identifies that man is faced with unanswerable questions concerning the metaphysical, the transcendental and the existential and this exhibition embraces those artists who have attempted to capture the complexity of the unknown.