Recognized as one of the 20th century’s most influential artists, Louis Bourgeois spent most of her life creating in obscurity.
Bourgeois is probably best known for her sculptures: massive spiders, surreal human figures and anthropomorphic shapes. She drew daily from childhood until her death at age 98, describing her practice as a means of survival, a lifelong way to manage emotional trauma and nightmares.
“Art is a guarantee of sanity,” she once stated.
Work by the renowned artist is on exhibit this summer at the Washington State University Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art in Pullman. “Louise Bourgeois: Ode to Forgetting” focuses on prints and textile works she made in her 80s and 90s, according to a news release.
Born in France, Bourgeois studied advanced mathematics at Sorbonne University before studying art at the Ecole du Louvre. In 1938, she moved to New York where she would spend the rest of her life. She created in relative obscurity until the 1970s. In 1982, at age 70, she was accorded her first retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. On her 90th birthday in 2001, an exhibition of her work was held at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in Russia.
Bourgeois is renowned for her approach to dream imagery. While her work shares characteristics of surrealism and feminist art, she is regarded as independent of any movement, according to the release. Many of the pieces on display in Pullman incorporate fabrics and embroidery, reflecting a lifelong interest in textiles stemming from childhood, when her family was in the tapestry restoration business.
Works on exhibit are from the collections of Schnitzer and his family foundation and are on display through Aug. 10 in the Bruce/Floyd, Borth, and Smith Galleries.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: “Louise Bourgeois: Ode to Forgetting”
WHEN: Through Aug. 10
WHERE: Washington State University Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Pullman
OF NOTE: The museum is closed Thursday through Sunday for the July 4 holiday. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.