William Christenberry's Beginnings
April 9 - June 26, 2010
[Artspace] at Untitled opened William Christenberry: Beginnings with an opening reception on April 9, 2010. This exhibition featured early works by acclaimed southern artist, William Christenberry. Included in the exhibit were important early paintings such as Tenant House II and First Painting as well as early drawings, assemblages and sculptures.
Born in 1936, William Christenberry grew up in Hale County, Alabama, a region deeply affected by the Great Depression. Christenberry's work, which habitually revisits the foundations of his childhood, is heavily influenced by his strong family ties to the region. During his early career he as primarily an abstract painter, but soon began to incorporate the use of a Brownie camera into his practice for study and documentary purposes. In 1961, he moved to New York and met Walker Evans, the celebrated photographer of the Farm Security Administration who had documented the devestating effects of the Great Depression in the South. Evans' photographs - many from Hale County - and the friendship that developed between the two men influenced Christenberry's work as an artist and he soon shifted from a focus on painting the structures of his past to photographing them. In 1968, he moved to Washington, D.C. and joined the faculty of the Corcoran School of Art and Design, where he continues to work as a professor of drawing and painting. Since 1961 Christenberry has returned to his hometown each summer, revisiting the same locations in forgotten corners of the region and documenting how the places of his youth have changed.
Watch a NewsOK video about Mixology, the closing party for William Christenberry: Beginnings.