Anne Appleby

My paintings aren't about the other world. They're about our place in this world. What nourishes the soul is the experience of being in the body.

Anne Appleby has been exhibiting her paintings since she received her B.F.A. in 1977 from University of Montana, and her M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1989. Before moving to San Francisco, Appleby spent a fifteen year apprenticeship with an Ojibwe Indian elder in Montana. From him, she learned her patient observation of nature.

Her work is often shown with that of “reductive” painters, but it does not exactly fit into the “pure” painting philosophy held by many of them. As Kenneth Baker wrote in 2004, “using no forms except monochrome panels, Appleby must struggle often with the potential problem of repetition. But [she] achieves a freshness and distinctness that persuades a viewer that she means each one. It is as if she has learned to translate energy of intent directly into radiance of color.”

Although Appleby’s paintings are composed of abstract panels each essentially a single color, she thinks of them as landscapes. She carefully observes specific plants or seasons and uses their colors as they grow and change in works that are particular to them. “As I work, I develop an inner dialogue about the meaning of what I’m doing,” she says. “But I can’t paint that. I can’t even speak it. It’s denser than my activity.” What she does paint is glowing fields of color that seem as alive as the plants she speaks of in her titles.

Anne Appleby lives in Jefferson City, Montana. In 1996, she was awarded the SFMOMA SECA Award. She was also the 1999 recipient of the Biennial Award from the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation in New York. Select solo exhibitions were held at Franklin Parrasch Gallery, New York (2019; Tacoma Art Museum (2018); Borzo Gallery, Amsterdam (2016); Ulrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Wichita (2011); and Galerie Albrecht, Berlin (2008). Appleby is represented by San Francisco’s Anglim Gilbert Gallery, Franklin Parrasch Gallery in New York and Parrasch Hiejenen in Los Angeles.

-Rachel Lyon, Crown Point Press

  • Anne Appleby at Crown Point Press, 2012 (5 minutes)

    Artist Anne Appleby working at Crown Point Press in San Francisco, 2012.

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