EXHIBITION EXTENDED THROUGH THURSDAY, JULY 24.
Santa Fe, NM—Matthews Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition by American modernist sculptor Hannah Holliday Stewart, running July 4-24 with an opening reception on Friday, July 4 from 5-7 pm. Stewart (1924-2010) was one of a small group of influential women sculptors in the latter part of the 20th century with a rising national reputation before she mysteriously turned her back on the art world and assumed a life of seclusion two decades before her death. At the time of her death over 120 sculptures were discovered in her studio and many of these will be featured in HANNAH HOLLIDAY STEWART: An Artistic Legacy Rediscovered.
“This is an artist who spent most of her life building a legacy, and then turned her back completely on the art world, for reasons she never revealed,” says gallery owner Lawrence Matthews. Two years ago Matthews was given the opportunity to explore Stewart’s Albuquerque, New Mexico studio, untouched since her death in 2010 and full of artwork spanning her career. “Stewart had incredible drive and passion. She exhibited her work in major museums and created somer monumental public art commissions. I thought, ‘Why isn’t she better known today?’” he says.
Stewart was born in Birmingham, Alabama and studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Early in her career she spearheaded multiple public art projects in Houston, big victories for a young female sculptor. Stewart gained national notoriety as part of a generation of second-wave feminist artists who incorporated ancient myths and goddess imagery into their work, but was equally influenced by scientific findings and natural phenomena. At the peak of her career she exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Fine Art, the High Museum, Atlanta and other museums across the country.
“My goal is to render visible the hidden realities of pent-up contained energy,” wrote Stewart. “Each sculpture is an energy form, the movement arrested in space, a form sustaining an energy.” At Matthews Gallery, Stewart’s elemental abstract sculptures will serve as intricate puzzle pieces to an artistic legacy rediscovered.