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Boxerwood Sponsors Albers Exhibit at W&L's Staniar Gallery in October

Boxerwood Education Association is sponsoring an exhibition of work by abstract artist Josef Albers, Oct. 8 through Nov. 5, in the Staniar Gallery at Washington and Lee University. “Formulation: Articulation” is a suite of 127 silkscreen prints that display the optical possibilities of color and design.

Elliott King, professor of art history at W&L, will lecture about the exhibit on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall at Wilson Hall, with a reception to follow. Both the lecture and exhibition are free and open to the public.

Josef Albers (1888-1976) was a painter, poet, sculptor, art theorist and educator who introduced a generation of American artists to European modernist concepts. He taught at Bauhaus, in Germany; Black Mountain College, in North Carolina; and Yale University. Among his most successful students were Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly (a member of W&L’s Class of 1953), Richard Anuszkiewicz, Eva Hesse and John Chamberlain. Through his experimentation with color and shape, Albers produced an alternative to abstract expressionism, inspiring the movements of geometric abstraction, color field painting and op art.

The silkscreens in “Formulation: Articulation” are printed on 66 plates containing one, two, or four images, along with annotations by the artist. It took Albers, while in his 80s, two years of concentrated work to create the prints for the suite. The collection is not a retrospective of past works, although the images represent a compilation of over four decades of the artist’s research, including his iconic “Homage to the Square” series.

Since its release in 1972, the complete suite has been rarely shown in its entirety, with most museums and galleries displaying only selected works. “Exhibition of the complete suite will give our art students a unique opportunity to study how Albers’ color, perception and abstraction have influenced modern art,” said Clover Archer, director of Staniar Gallery.

Lexington’s Boxerwood Nature Center & Woodland Garden has an environmental education mission. “Art has been part of Boxerwood tradition from the beginning,” said Joe Dinardo, a Boxerwood board member. He and his wife, Joan, own the Albers suite. “Dr. Robert Munger acquired sculpture by local artists for what was then his private garden.” Since becoming an education nonprofit, Boxerwood has opened the woodland garden to the public and offers it as a venue to inspire creativity as expressed through the arts.

“Creativity comes from awareness of our surroundings, the same awareness that inspires us to care for our surroundings, especially the natural world,” Dinardo continued. “This year, as Boxerwood celebrates our 15th year as a community nature center, one of our goals is to step up that aspect of our mission—merging creativity and art with the environment.”

Dinardo, a retired toxicologist, divides his time among various nonprofit endeavors, including revitalizing the arts at Boxerwood. He is developing plans to establish a sculpture garden on the nature center’s 15-acre campus over the next five years.

Staniar Gallery is located on the second floor of Wilson Hall, in Washington and Lee University’s Lenfest Center for the Arts. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please call 540-458-8861.