Past Exhibitions — 2015

Michelle Stuart
Trace Memory: Selected Works 1969–2015

27 March – 9 May 2015


Parafin is pleased to announce an exhibition by the acclaimed American artist Michelle Stuart. This will be Stuart’s first exhibition in London since 1979, when she showed at the ICA.

Since the 1970s, Michelle Stuart has been internationally recognised for innovative works that synthesise Land art, drawing and sculpture. Stuart’s original approach to material and process has seen her create large-scale site specific works in the landscape, sculptural installations incorporating objects, drawings, and audio-visual elements, photographs and drawings and sculptures that bring the material of landscape – earth and rock – into the gallery. Her work articulates a profound engagement with the physicality of space and landscape and the contextual overlapping of nature and culture.

Throughout Stuart’s career photography has been a key element within her practice and this exhibition will focus on an important body of recent photographic works. In these Stuart exploits photographs – taken during her travels or in the studio, as well as collected from archival sources – to create complex grid configurations. The grids articulate connections between images and places, and suggest grand narratives of journeys across time and space. Stuart has likened these to ‘silent movies’. An inveterate traveller herself, these works encompass a range of loci from New York and Paris to the mountains of Machu Picchu and the oceans of Polynesia.

Alongside these new photographic works Parafin will exhibit a selection of important older works including drawings, earth rubbings, site documentation and book-objects. Notable are a group made at sites around Avebury and the Ridgeway in 1980-81 incorporating earth from the sites and photographic documentation. Taken together, the old and new works suggest a remarkably consistent approach in which the artist’s abiding concerns with place, site, history and memory are addressed through different media. The exhibition will suggest a direct trajectory from an earth ‘drawing’ of 1969 to Stuart’s most recent photographic work.

Selected Works

Michelle Stuart
Gray Stone, 1971
Graphite on paper
30 x 23 cm

Michelle Stuart
#246 Hurley, New York 1973, 1973
graphite on muslin-mounted paper
99.1 x 78.7 x 5.7 cm

Michelle Stuart
Drawing on Space, 2011
20 unique archival inkjet photographs
96.5 × 150 cm overall

Michelle Stuart
Sun Alignment over the Rio Urabamba, 1981-2015
12 framed archival inkjet photographs
67.9 x 116.2 cm overall

Michelle Stuart
Hear the Mermaids Sing, 2013
70 unique archival inkjet photographs
165.1 × 289.6 cm overall.


Since the early 1970s, Michelle Stuart has been included in Documenta 6, Kassel and biennials in both Asia and the Middle East. Recent important exhibitions include ‘Michelle Stuart: Drawn From Nature’ at the Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, the Parrish Art Museum, New York and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 2013-14. She was included in the important survey exhibitions ‘Afterimage: Drawing through Process’, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, 1999-2000; ‘Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974’, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and Haus der Kunst, Munich, 2012; ‘Alice in Wonderland’ at Tate Liverpool, 2012; and ‘On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century’ at MoMA, New York, 2010.

Stuart’s work is in major museum collections internationally, including MoMA, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Both the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York recently acquired major works.