A New Exhibit Features Works That Communicate Across Gaps in the Gallery Space
The minimalist poetry of Aram Saroyan is orderly and symmetrical. An example is this untitled poem, which appeared in his first book, Aram Saroyan, published 1968:
Its simple structure draws the reader’s attention to individual elements (for example, every line ends in “y”) while at the same time carrying a message about awareness. (When was the last time you truly noticed the sky itself?)
A new exhibit opening on Thursday, Jan. 10, at projects+gallery in the Central West End is titled “sky every day” after this poem. It features works in which materials function literally rather than metaphorically, similar to Saroyan’s use of space on the page as a tool for underscoring the materiality of language.
As an example, curator Jessica Baran offers the way that “Christine Corday’s untitled white monochromatic paintings on aluminum (all 2017), distinguished only by a slight bend or fold, act as counterpoints to Keef Winter’s ‘High Street Girl 2’ (2016), a monochromatic powder-coated pink painting on aluminum, vigorously hand-pounded by a hammer—the irregular and shadow-pocked contours of which become all the more heightened next to the crisp-edged, flat expanse of Joshua Smith’s untitled monochromatic pink paining on canvas (2011).” Baran, director of curatorial and program development at Barrett Barrera Projects, explains that “these works require the physical space around them and such environmental conditions as light to assist in articulating their non-pictorial visuality.”
Artists in the exhibit
Christine Corday of Hudson Valley, New York, engages a material-based practice that interrogates the evolving human scale of perception and fundamental forces. Working with temperature, tangible states and elemental metals as well as self-invented media, Corday often collaborates with international scientists and engineering organizations to develop her distinctive forms.
Paul Cowan makes painting-like objects that allude to and upend painterly conventions. Drawn from the worlds of commercial signage and fine art, his hybrid objects often utilize a-typical media such as enamel or chroma-key (blue-screen), applied to canvas—thereby questioning the boundary between functional and artistic painting.
Born in Saint Louis and based in Massachusetts, Tom Friedman explores the relationship between perception and logic. Using materials including hair, plastic, Styrofoam and paper, he creates fastidious, unexpected objects that are often autobiographical in nature.
Wisconsin-based artist Michelle Grabner’s post-minimalist paintings and drawings return elements of craft to modes of artistic production. Grabner often references the suburban—using embroidery, wallpaper, or gingham patterns as models—or utilizes arcane geometry, such as Archimedes spirals, wherein each point in a spiral is equidistant from the point that preceded it and the one that follows.
Brooklyn-based artist Ajay Kurian uses eclectic materials including gold-plated ostrich eggs, ghee and gummy bears to postulate new worlds while turning a critical eye on ours. In the context of his work, religious allusions often surface as his sculpture responds to the intertwining myths and realities of the American cultural fabric.
In his mixed media work, Roman Liška engages with painting as a language without being closely tied to the traditional tropes of the medium. By redefining and expanding the parameters of what can be thought of as painting, Liška contributes to an ongoing investigation of the boundaries within and beyond the genre.
Juxtaposing common materials with their raw counterparts, artist N. Dash engages with the sense of touch as her primary mode for exploring the connections between her artwork and its organic source material. Dash’s use of these disparate elements in her work provides a compelling entry point into their histories, while the performative roots of her practice and the physical contact required to construct her pieces establishes her body as a presence in them, giving both warmth and gravitas to her minimalist arrangements.
Los Angeles-based artist Anthony Pearson is well known for his highly formalized and sensitive use of both process and materials. By experimenting with the formal limits of photography, where Pearson’s practice originated, he found a visual vocabulary rooted in abstraction that explores the balances between positive and negative, lightness and darkness.
Richard Serra is a prominent American sculptor, painter and printmaker whose raw steel sculptures and monumental prints explore the relationship between art object, site, space and viewer. In both two- and three-dimensional works, Serra teases out the inborn tenants of Minimalism by emphasizing the materiality of each medium with which he chooses to work.
Los Angeles-based artist Joshua Smith creates monochrome paintings that further the Modernist reduction of the genre to its essential identity. Smith rejects any form of pictorial mimesis in favor of flat planes of color that simultaneously emphasize the materiality of the canvas and paint while subduing any reference to the hand of the artist in the process of creation.
Irish artist Keef Winter works with sculpture, installation, sound and performance. His work seeks to embody, in object and sound, a state of transformation that is birthed from symbolic and physical enactments of rupture. Surfaces that are first to be struck are the elements that form Winter’s material language.
Exhibit dates: Jan. 10 to March 2
Opening reception: Thursday, Jan. 10, from 5-8 p.m.
Gallery hours: Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
All images courtesy of projects+gallery.