When we set out to design the Fall Winter 2012 collection, is was the surrealist movement, and more specifically female surrealist paintings, that found their way onto our inspiration boards. The color palettes of artists like Leonora Carrington led to rich new coated colors and dyed looks, while the deep symbolism of works by the likes of Frida Kahlo inspired our selection of deep, dark denim washes. Across the board, surrealist imagery led to our exciting new print story and influenced color and wash names.
So we were extremely excited to hear about “In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and The United States,” a new LACMA exhibit that pulls together so many of the works and artists we referenced for the line, as well as others we had never seen or heard of before. Walking through the exhibit during member previews, it was a thrill to see works that we never expected to see in person at all, displayed together in the same space.
While Salvador Dali is synonymous with the surrealist movement in Europe, there was also a thriving group of surrealists working in North America around the same time, led by an unexpected segment of the population: women. In the prologue for the exhibit, Whitney Chadwick explains that the show is “the first international exhibition to explore the legacy of surrealism in Mexico and the United States through its influence on several generations of women artists.” This is really a monumental, first-of-its-kind show that everyone who loves (or hasn’t yet discovered) surrealist art should see. Using portraits, self-portraits and even double self-portraits, the female surrealists used their medium to delve deep into the subconscious and the space of their own dreams.
Our favorite painting in the show is Remedios Varo’s 1956 painting ‘Harmony’, whose intricate details and symbolic meaning are a perfect summation of our inspiration and the surrealist movement itself. Varo’s other featured paintings include ‘Celestial Pablum’ and ‘Woman Departing from Psychoanalyst’s Office’. Don’t miss works by the recently passed Leonora Carrington and the more high-profile Frida Kahlo. Also notable are pieces by Kay Sage and Bridget Tichenor, photographs by Lee Miller and sculptures by Louise Bourgeois.
You can catch the show at LACMA through May 6th, before it moves to the National Museum of Fine Arts in Quebec and then to the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City in the fall – right about when the new line hits retail.