Happy Birthday to “the artist who did the most to humanize Minimalism without sentimentalizing it[—]Eva Hesse. Dying of brain cancer at thirty-four, an age at which most artist’s careers are barely under way, she left a truncated body of work but one of remarkable power: an instrument of feeling that spoke of an inner life, sometimes fraught with anxiety…”
Eva Hesse was a prolific American artist, born in Hamburg, Germany in 1936. Her primary focus was expressive, abstract drawing; may of these drawings were large and contained a mixture of wet and dry media. Her drawings were filled with playful contours coupled with geometric forms, including vibrant and light hues of color.
In the mid-60’s she focused on sculpting. Her sculptures were often organic in material and geometric in structure. Her typical sculpture medium was fiberglass, which were some of her most monumental pieces. These works were included in many national shows of merit, one being in the Nine in a Warehouse exhibition, held at the Castelli warehouse in 1969.
In the 1960’s, Hesse became ill and was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, in 1970, Hesse passed away at the age of 34, when a tumor was found on her brain. Hesse kept journals or her life, from childhood. Many of her works were created from her emotional, anxious vision of these events in her life. Hesse is considered a minimalist, which is considered a critical factor in the movements in the 1960′ s and 70′ s.
Ms. Hesse deserves our attention. Happy Birthday!
Lippard, Lucy R. Eva Hesse. New York, 1976.
Reinhardt, Brigitte, and Friedrike Kitschen. Eva Hesse, Drawing in Space: Bilder und Reliefs. Exh. cat., Ulmer Museum, Ulm, 1979.
Johnson, Ellen H. Eva Hesse: A Retrospective of the Drawings. Exh. cat., Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, 1982.