Over 100 works on paper by acclaimed artist Louise Bourgeois, spanning her career from 1938, the year she emigrated to the U.S., through to 1995, will introduce many viewers to a body of work less familiar than Bourgeois’ now well-known sculptures. The drawings, in various media including ink, watercolor, pencil, gouache, and crayon, are psychologically charged and deal primarily with Bourgeois’ personal associations with ideas of home, family, childhood, and sex — and her both affectionate and conflicted feelings on these subjects. Surrounding these works is Bourgeois’ reworking and mythologizing of a childhood situation in which her father invited his young mistress into their home as governess to Louise and her brothers and sisters, and her mother’s complicity in and acceptance of this arrangement.
Accompanying this exhibition exclusively at the List Visual Arts Center will be a massive steel sculpture, Spider (1996). The spider has been another recurrent theme in Bourgeois’ recent work, representing to the artist a mother figure — both caretaker and defender of the home. The exhibition was organized by the University Art Gallery at the University of California, Berkeley and traveled to the Drawing Center in New York prior to coming to the List Visual Arts Center.
Louise Bourgeois: Drawings and Observations, a full-color, hardcover book by Louise Bourgeois with Lawrence Rinder of the University Art Museum, Berkeley, offers lush reproductions of most of the works in the exhibit, as well as insights and commentary by Bourgeois on this highly personal body of work. The book will be available for purchase at the List Visual Arts Center.