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Dorothy Gillespie
Veiled Series XX , Abstract Expressionist Organic Drawing Watercolor Painting




Dorothy Gillespie (June 29, 1920 – September 30, 2012) was an American artist and sculptor who became known for her large and colorful abstract metal sculptures. Gillespie became best known for the aluminum sculptures she started to produce at the end of the 1970s. She would paint sheets of the metal, cut them into strips and connect the strips together to resemble cascades or starbursts of bright colored ribbon. The New York Times once summarized her work as “topsy-turvy, merrymaking fantasy,” and in another review declared, “The artist’s exuberant sculptures of colorful aluminum strips have earned her an international reputation.Her works are featured at her alma mater (Radford University) in Virginia, where she later returned to teach, as well as in New York (where she was artist in residence for the feminist Women's Interart Center), Wilmington, North Carolina and Florida. She enrolled both at Radford University near her hometown, and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. The director of the Maryland Institute, Hans Schuler, helped foster her career in fine art. On June 5, 1943, aged 23, Gillespie moved to New York City. There she took a job at the B. Altman department store as assistant art director. She also joined the Art Students League where she was exposed to new ideas about techniques, materials, and marketing. She also created works at Atelier 17 printmaking studio, where Stanley William Hayter encouraged to experiment with her own ideas. She and her husband, Bernard Israel, opened a restaurant and night club in Greenwich Village to support their family. She returned to making art in 1957, and worked at art full-time after they sold the nightclub in the 1970. In 1977 Gillespie gave her first lecture series at the New School for Social Research, and she would give others there until 1982. She taught at her alma mater as a Visiting Artist (1981-1983) and gave Radford University some of her work to begin its permanent art collection. Gillespie then served as Woodrow Wilson visiting Fellow (1985-1994), visiting many small private colleges to give public lectures and teach young artists. She returned to Radnor University to teach as Distinguished Professor of Art (1997–99).[8] She also hosted a radio program, the Dorothy Gillespie Show on Radio Station WHBI in New York from 1967-1973. Gillespie began moving away from realism and into the abstraction that marked her career. Gillespie returned to New York City in 1963 to continue her career. She maintained a studio through the 70s and advocate worked towards feminist goals in the art industry, picketing the Whitney Museum, helping to organize the Women's Interart Center, curating exhibitions of women's art, and writing articles raising awareness of her cause. Gillespie numbered among her acquaintances such art-world luminaries as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Alice Neel, Louise Nevelson and Georgia O’Keeffe. “She had amazing stories that unfortunately are gone,” her son said. During the 1960s, she built multimedia art installations that made political statements, such as 1965’s “Made in the USA,” that used blinking colored lights, mirrors, shadow boxes, rotating figures and tape recordings to convey a chaotic look at American commercial fads. The floor was strewn with real dollar bills, which visitors assumed were fake. By the 1980s, Gillespie's work had come to be known internationally. She completed many commissions for sculptures in public places, including Lincoln Center, Rockefeller Center and Walt Disney World Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida. Her work is in many collections across the United States, including the Delaware Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Her sculptures can also be found in the Frankfurt Museum in Germany and the Tel Aviv Museum in Israel. Group Shows Conceived and Curated by Dorothy Gillespie Women's Interart Center, New York, NY 1974 included: Betty Parsons, Elsie Asher, Alice Baber, Minna Citron, Nancy Spero, Seena Donneson, Alice Neel, Natalie Edgar, Dorothy Gillespie, and Anita Steckel. Alice Baber, Isabel Bishop, Audrey Flack, Mary Frank, Buffie Johnson, Yvonne Jacquette, Lila Katzen, Elaine De Kooning, Joyce Wienstein. "Women Artists Paint Women Artists," Virginia Miller Gallery, Miami, FL 1978; "Artist Choice," Clayworks Gallery, New York, NY 1979, included: Marisol, Joyce Weinstein, Marlyn Dintenfass, Clinton Hill, Joe Stallone, Peter Voulkos, David Hare, Susan Weil, Philip Pavia, Ka Kwong Hui, Jack Beal, Jolyn Hofsted, Terry Rosenberg, Bernie Kirschenbaum. Her work is unique in its use of ribbon-like shape and use of bright colors. Her sculptures are crafted out of aluminum covered in enamel. Her Colorfall, is a 40-foot tall sculpture hanging in the lobby of Wilmington's Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts. During her lifetime, the Women's Caucus for Art awarded Gillespie its Outstanding Services award in 2001. Dorothy Gillespie died in Coral Gables, Florida on Sunday September 30, 2012. She established a foundation to continue her work and the women's art movement after her death.


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