“What Appleby’s paintings ask you to do is lose yourself, enter the interior space that can come with looking, but, in these content-driven times, seldom does.”
– John Yau, “A Monochrome Painter’s Immanent Light” (2019)
“[Appleby’s] paintings are landscapes of a nature that is invisible to our eyes but not to our conscience, which goes beyond the visible.”
– Collezione Panza
“It’s slow art. That’s the way nature is, too, very slow.”
– Anne Appleby, “Mesmerizing study of one Montana mountain at Anglim Gilbert” (2018)
Anne Appleby is widely known for her necessarily contemplative, monochromatic paintings and works on paper. Inspired by her surrounds in the Montana wilderness, each work represents a distillation of the landscape.
Appleby studied at the Philadelphia College of Art before relocating to Montana in 1971, subsequently earning a B.F.A. at the University of Montana, Missoula, and eventually establishing a studio and residence in the sparsely populated community of Jefferson City. In addition to earning a M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1989, Appleby’s educational background includes a fifteen year-long apprenticeship with Ojibwa artist and holy man Ed Barbeau, from whom she learned and refined processes of intense meditative awareness in nature. The tenor of Appleby’s work reflects the sensation of that observational practice which resides at the core of her philosophical approach to painting.
Appleby’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions since at galleries and museums within the United States and internationally, including at Franklin Parrasch Gallery (New York); Mayor Gallery (London); Gallery Paule Anglim and Anglim Gilbert Gallery (San Francisco); Borzo Gallery (Amsterdam); Tacoma Art Museum (Washington); Museum Ritter (Waldenbuch); and Villa e Collezione Panza (Varese). Appleby has been included in such group exhibitions as Indestructible Wonder (San Jose Museum of Art); Agnes Martin, Robert Ryman, Merrill Wagner, and Anne Appleby (Foundation de Lijnen); Modern Art, Modern Lives (the Austin Museum of Art); Pushing Paint (Joseph Helman Gallery); and Of the Moment: Contemporary Art from the Permanent Collection (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). Appleby’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago (IL), Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo), Daimler Art Collection (Stuttgart/Berlin), Denver Museum of Art (CO), Microsoft Corporation (Redmond), National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC), Panza Collection (Lugano), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (CA), and the Seattle Art Museum (WA), and in a permanent installation at Palazzo Ducale (Sassuolo), amongst others.
Appleby is the recipient of several grants including the Pollock Krasner Foundation, the Western Arts Federation, and the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grants; and the SECA Award (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) and the David S. McMillan Award (San Francisco Art Institute).
ANNE APPLEBY in the Camera di Fetonte
by Dr. Giuseppe Panza
Surprise, emotion, and a subtle sense of panic invade the visitor who enters the Camera di Fetonte, introduced by the simple captions that Anne Appleby has attached to her ten works. They are, in fact, nothing more than such indications as For West wall, #1 (left), etc. that, however, are effective in leasing the visitor to the site of the Este frames. The artist has preferred not to use words to create a title that might prejudice the works themselves.
These spaces contain, as though in a clasp, pictures in which nothing happens. Any occurrence consists, if anything, in a palette ranging from blue-black to white, the aggressive presence of which admits no comparison. These blues suggest a concatenation, even though without any clues as to its meaning, as a result of the surprising variation of tonal gradations, dosed, or so it would seem, by an internal mechanism of the material that flaunts them within the limits imposed by the geometry of the frames.
The palette is to be seen, congealed, in the painting placed at the head of the trio For North Wall, #2, the surface of which shows its character in the strangest of blacks. This black is not all that deep, since it is unable to block the presence of a dark blue. It is not certain if we should impute its darkness to the antagonistic function that the blue ought to have in comparison to its formidable rival, or else to black and blue being the constituents of an impasto with which the artist shows us she has invented a colour the impure nature of which is highlighted by the modest form of the setting, and by its strange chromatic intensity, even in the absence of light.
The surface of a large rectangle, For South wall, opposes the most immaculate of whites to this colour. Pure white might well cause the surprised visitor to think, with this first impression in mind, of earlier reactions to the purity of snow. It is this purity that makes the white a corporeal substance formed by the absence of colour while never becoming light. This panel does not contain color and yet it is not empty: not even the presence of traces of yellow eliminates our doubt that there might yet be some ray of light. But the range of blues, like a wave that nears the shore, seems to lose its intensity as it nears this painting, one that might well engulf it, having slowly diluted and dissolved its variations of colour for its own pleasure.
This range of blues is not to be found in the sea. Not even the sky is alluded to in these paintings in the Camera di Fetonte, since the colours, like the blues, are not linked to things: colours precede them and are invented and named for the first time by man. Over these pictures, so individual in their distinctive colouring, Anne Appleby, with her commanding technique, has laid a dull blow; this impalpable yet tenacious layer, like an immobilizing membrane, is the spell that the artist has cast so that the material and its softened colours might become painting.