Friday, February 8, 2008

Leonora Carrington at Frey Norris

One of the most important shows in the Bay Area right now is “Leonora Carrington: The Talismanic Lens” at the Frey Norris Gallery in San Francisco through March 30, 2008.

Carrington is one of the most famous women surrealists. Born in England in 1917, she attended art school in London, and then at age 19 met famous Surrealist Max Ernst and became his lover. They lived together in France collaborating with other Surrealists. At the beginning of WWII Ernst was arrested by the Nazis and later escaped to New York, while Carrington fled to Spain where she was hospitalized for a nervous breakdown. Carrington escaped war torn Europe and traveled to Mexico where she resides to this day at age 90.

The show at Frey Norris provides a mini retrospective of her extensive art career from an ethereal gouache fairy painted at age 16 to work done in 1987. The exhibit contains drawings, paintings large and small, lithographs, and a collection of books and photos. Carrington is also an author of novels and poetry.

This exhibit is two years in the making and filled with high quality examples of her work. Carrington’s visual world is filled with ethereal figures, real and imaginary animals, mystical meanings, psychological conundrums, pagan references, feminism, hints of world cultures and spiritual identity. One can get lost in these mysterious worlds for hours, even days.

It is rare to see such a large collection of Carrington's work in one place. Enjoy it while it is still here. I know I will be making multiple trips.

Images from the Frey Norris Gallery ( and Art Daily ( websites.

1 comment:

Nancy Ewart said...

Seeing her work is so very rare that this show is a rare treat. I think I hadn't appreciate her level of skill - as well as mastery of surrealist symbolism - until I saw these works in person. Great review!