Web Ladder, Divided Night Sky, Reverse Galaxy, Falling Stars, and Dark Galaxy
Courtesy of the artist and McKee Gallery, New York
© Vija Celmins
Latvian-born Vija Celmins is best known for exquisitely rendered depictions of nature's most awe-inspiring elements. Months of painstaking labor go into each mesmerizing piece in order to craft photorealistic portrayals of fleeting phenomena — the waves on an ocean, the delicate frames of spider webs, the unreachable brilliance of the night sky. Executed in a hypnotic palette of grays, her captivating works frequently feature in exhibitions at SFMOMA, most recently Contemporary Painting, 1960 to the Present in 2012 and Selected Histories, which is ongoing.
In addition to being included in SFMOMA's collection, Celmins's work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum, the National Gallery of Art, and the Centre Pompidou, and it has earned her a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Art, and the Carnegie Prize.