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Margaret Ponce Israel
Perimeter Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
Recommendation by Robin Dluzen

Margaret Ponce Israel, "In a World of Shapes," 1975, clay, rope, and wood construction, 90 x 60"


Continuing through April 12, 2014

The studio of Cuban-born, New York-raised artist Margaret Ponce Israel sat untouched for two years after the artist’s accidental death in 1987. This studio — where Israel lived and created in the midst of a remarkable mass of artwork, artifacts, dolls, handmade furniture and plant and animal life — was as much a work of art as the objects she exhibited. Israel’s practice was notably ahead of her time, integrating high art with craft and the decorative arts as early as the 1950s, and producing with a diverse array of mixed media.

Here, a selection of Israel’s varied oeuvre highlights her proficiency across a diversity of styles and media, from oil paintings circa 1960 to freestanding figurative ceramics from the 1970s. “Walking People,” a work on paper from the final year of her life, features calligraphic figures inspired by the people she observed from her window. Israel’s is also an imaginative practice, drawing freely from art history and the aesthetic traditions of ancient cultures around the world. “In a World of Shapes” contains the pieces of a Cycladic-like clay figure suspended from a wooden structure — Israel’s combination of earthiness, engineering and symbolism, a prime example from an innovative career.

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