White Columns – Anne Minich (Works)
White Columns – Anne Minich Press Release
White Columns is pleased to present a solo exhibition by the Philadelphia-based artist Anne Minich (b. 1934, Philadelphia, PA). Taking the form of a partial survey of Minich’s work produced over the past four decades, the exhibition will be the first focused presentation of her work in New York since the late 1980s.
Highly idiosyncratic, and often employing a form of colloquial humor, Minich’s exquisitely constructed and painted works often incorporate religious iconography to explore her preoccupying concerns of gender, sexuality, friendship and mortality. Like the work of her peer Ree Morton, much of Minich’s work is autobiographical in nature and sculptural in approach, incorporating found objects and text. The works on display at White Columns include portraits of her children (Stars, late 1970s – 2020), self-portraits (At 17th Street, NYC, 1989-2014; and Royal Palms, 1980), and allusions to her late friends, the artist Juan Gonzalez (El Juanita and the Dream, 1991-1992) and the collector Baldwin Fong (The Flight of Blue Heart, 1992-1999.)
Working in discrete but related series, throughout her career Minich has often revisited, altered and amended her earlier works, creating in turn ‘new’ updated works that reflect upon the evolving and unfolding narrative of her own life. (The work Pinkie (towards 80), 2014, created around the time of her 80th birthday incorporates eighty shell fragments embedded into its surface. Minich has been engaged in this process of “marking her age with paintings” since turning fifty in 1984.)
Minich attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts from 1954-55, but abandoned her studies after two years to raise a family. Though she never entirely ceased to make art, this period was the beginning of what Minich has described as her “lost” years. In the late 1960s, Minich and her family relocated to Florida, where she enrolled at the University of Miami, Coral Gables at the age of 35. There she was “able to think seriously about making art again and realizing that that was what I needed to do.”
Returning to the studio in her 30s, Minich was able to make decisions about her approach to making art and to her subject matter that she felt she wouldn’t have been in a position to do at an earlier age. Minich exhibited the resulting works publicly for the first time in 1973 at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of the Arts, Florida, and in exhibitions in Miami, Palm Beach and Atlanta where she “experienced censorship and resistance” to her subject matter, which she suggests ultimately proved to be a good thing as it helped her “to dig my heels in!” Minich subsequently moved to New York in the early 1970s before returning to Philadelphia in the 1980s, where she supported both herself and her practice by working in an art supply store.
Unabashedly invested in the potential of the “decorative”, Minich’s formally extraordinary and gently subversive work should be far better known. Reflecting on her approach, Minich has said: “The work is mostly instinctual; I haven’t developed ideas from formal theories; the biggest influence may be the ‘outsiders’ who, for practical reasons, used whatever was at hand. A lot of my practice developed from using severe financial constraints as a challenge for making good art.”
Anne Minich’s work has been included in recent group exhibitions at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, and Jack Barrett Gallery, New York, among others. Her work was the subject of paired solo exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia in 2017. Parallel to her White Columns exhibition, Minich’s work is currently on view in a two-person presentation at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. Minich’s work is held at a number of public collections including the Walker Gallery, Bowdoin College; Bryn Mawr College Special Collection; and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, among others.
Anne Minich would like to dedicate this exhibition to Baldwin Fong, Frances Cohen Gillespie, and Juan Gonzalez.
White Columns would like to thank Caitlin McBride and Ezra Tessler for introducing us to Anne’s work.