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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts acquires major work by Virginia Jaramillo
Virginia Jaramillo, Time Fractal, 1973. Collection of Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

RICHMOND, VA.- The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts announced their recent acquisition of a painting by American artist Virginia Jaramillo: Time Fractal , 1973.

Virginia Jaramillo (b.1939, El Paso, TX) spent her formative years in California and studied at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles. When she began working in her Watts, Los Angeles studio in the early 1960s, her paintings were dominated by single textural plains of color inspired by the rough, cracked terrain seen in the southwest. Following the Watts riots in 1965, Jaramillo and her family moved to New York.

Jaramillo’s Curvilinear painting series, created between the late 1960s and early 1970s, features large canvases, filled with vivid fields of color surrounding thin, contrasting and undulating lines. VMFA’s newly acquired work, Time Fractal , is from this series and features two dark lines against a saturated red background.

“We are working diligently to reconstitute the often disparate narratives that the art world creates. In acquiring this work we are able to provide a more accurate picture of the art world in the 1970s, a time that arguably offers the most immediate understanding of today’s contemporary art landscape,” said Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. “The fact that Jaramillo is a woman and of Latin descent working amid the amazing artists emerging from the West Coast at that time is extraordinary.”

Jaramillo was the sole female artist to have her work included in the De Luxe Show by the Menil Foundation in Houston, TX. Held in 1971, during a time when exhibitions focused on the work of Black artists were controversial, the De Luxe Show was one of the nation’s first racially integrated shows featuring major contemporary artists of color.

“VMFA is actively working to better add to the representation of women artists and artists of color in the museum's collection ,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Virginia Jaramillo succeeded in crossing societal boundaries during the 1960s and 70s, and her work has established her as a significant American abstract artist.”

Jaramillo, whose career has spanned six decades, continues to work in New York. Several international solo and group exhibitions have featured her paintings and her handmade paper and linoleum works including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA (1959–61); Whitney Annual, NY (1972); Mexican Museum, San Francisco, CA (1980); MoMA PS1, NY (2012); Brooklyn Museum, NY (2017); the Tate Modern, London, UK (2017); and the Menil Collection, Houston, TX (2020). Her work is also included in prestigious collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Menil Collection in Houston, TX — and now VMFA in Richmond, VA.

“Virgina Jaramillo’s Time Fractal provides a more expansive look into abstraction in the 1970s and speaks so beautifully with the other works on view in our collection,” said Cassel Oliver.

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