In the spirit of impermanence — one of the core precepts of Buddhism—artworks in this solo show of the work of the 87-year-old Rinzai Zen monk Max Gimblett will rotate in and out of the galleries throughout the run of the exhibition. Viewers, if they visit the gallery repeatedly, will find a completely different installation of new work each time they return.
Gimblett’s paintings are a unique and mindful hybrid of the New York school of abstract expressionism with traditions of manuscript illumination and icon painting, Asian calligraphy, kintsugi, and lacquerware. Masterful brushwork, an eccentric and sophisticated color sense, and sensuously glossy surfaces are punctuated with precious metals. Some of the sculptural panels – tondos, ovals, and his signature four-lobed quatrefoil – are completely and idiosyncratically gilded in various types of gold or platinum, referring to the universality of devotional objects. With these very contemporary works, his intention is the marriage of Modernism with mysticism. Every work in this exhibition is an altarpiece; each is an offering.
Born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1935, Gimblett trained at the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1960s and has since lived, studied, traveled, taught, and exhibited extensively across the globe. His work is included in major museum collections worldwide, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki. In 2022, The Getty Research Institute’s internationally renowned Artist’s Book Collection acquired the entire archive of Gimblett’s artist’s books, consisting of more than 250 unique sketchbooks and journals.