Paper Giants will be opening at Proto Gallery, located at 66 Willow Ave in Hoboken, September 20th at 6:00pm and will run through October 19th.
By its nature drawing is anti-monumental. When artists Ky Anderson, Meg Lipke and Vicki Sher defined their creative perimeters for Paper Giants by scale and drawing, they entered the expanded field of drawing now. The artists’ commitment to creating on gigantic (72 X 60 inches) sheets of heavy weight paper offers us the first exhibition centered on such a scale. Here, we see the intimacy and immediacy of drawing embrace the monumentality of artistic production and architectural spaces today. Representing three differing viewpoints—symbolic, historical, narrative—the exhibition reveals line-work that takes textural and structural content from architecture, domesticity and volumes of nature. Sensationally scaled artworks on paper are a twentieth century invention.
Henri Matisse’s exuberant cutouts of the 1940s and 50s dislodged notions of the preciousness of paper, shifting it from an ephemeral material to one relational with the concreteness of architecture. In the 1960s experiments in printmaking by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg defied the limitations of the printing press and single sheets of American made artists’ papers. Custom paper milled in France allowed artists to subvert more than materiality; print size become akin to portions found in painting. Artists began to merely pin or nail prints to exhibition space walls where airborne dust and exposure to light insured a natural process of destruction. This action advanced institutional critiques about collectability and preservation. Presentation and conservation methodologies, brought on by expansive paper works, continue to challenge today.
Paper Giants represents works with a kindred freeness to mid-century progenitors Matisse and Rauschenberg. The exhibition also reflects the accelerated rise of drawing as an autonomous medium in recent decades. Each drawing is pinned to the wall at the top only while the bottom lofts away from the wall to incite more active viewership. The loose thematic, central to the exhibition, leaves room for individuation. The title, Paper Giants, with its bravado, enters the territory of scalability of working on massive sheets of paper where Kara Walker has held ground. What makes this statement distinct is the collaborative agreement forged in advance of artistic production that put all three artists on the same playing field with the restricted scale. The exhibition subverts the curatorial favoring collectivity. Digital snapshots entered the creative process making it an active space of collaboration with real-time peer-to-peer critiques.
It is important to mention that Paper Giants features works on paper that visually appear to extend the notion of drawing towards painting, printmaking and collage. The distinction that holds these works in the realm of drawing is their engagement with the imperfect universe of line-based compositions on blank paper. Where painting, printmaking and collage project ideas of completion, drawing is action laid bare. For Paper Giants, each artist comes to the project with varied media—acrylic and oil paint, textile dye, beeswax, pencil, India ink—and process but has found that working on large paper triggers an unmediated gestural correspondence with their studio space, artistic practice and materials.
There’s so much air in Vicki Sher, and none of it is plein. So much egalitarian distribution, so much distance, so much humor. An aleatory mark: can it be calculated? Generated by some unseen, unknowable system? Topsy turvy, or whited-out, her deKooningesque spaces barely hang together, as if the artist is courting collapse, as if she’s on good terms with chaos, chummy with tumbling, woozy with dream. And yet the presiding intelligence of the maker rules: the gratuitous is intended, the color is spot-on, the apparent casualness is a winning confidence. In Sher’s work, drawing and painting seem to have cut a deal, agreeing to share the same expanse, however independently they operate. Wisps, gestures, vectors to nowhere, her lines suggest spaces that might just be habitable, flowers that just might be watered. And what of a bowl of fruit, not uncomfortable within a field of Twomblyesque scrawl? A still life joke? A chance for the artist to quote the primary colors? A throwaway goof on traditional subject matter? Perhaps, but an arresting, homegirl detail nonetheless. And then we see a white X, nearly invisible, obscuring part of a Schnabel-like vessel. Some aspect of negation is going on, some critique of 80s bravado is being alluded to, some echo of painting’s recent histories is being sounded, some alternate way of seeing is being proposed. Or, rather, and maybe it doesn’t matter a whit, could this white X be the propeller of painting itself?
- Geoffrey Young
Consider the torso in Ky Anderson’s paintings. Like Kerouac’s “anvils in Petrograd,” these divisions of the canvas, as if belted at the tapered middle, encourage her abstractions to be read as symbolic figures. Not decorative, as in a million Jim Dine robes, but allusive, supple, unwearably ingenuous. Fringe hangs, girdles contain, trusses tie things down. The range of her fittings keeps Anderson’s figures standing firm in fields of subtle pentimenti. Curious depths invite speculation: the frontality of Egyptian statuary is not dead! We are all held together by strapping tape, she seems to say; we’re as strong or as vulnerable as that which holds us in place. Look inside. Same stuff as outside. The stuff of painting tricks out the moment with line, color, smears, drips, and plenty of conviction. The bi-lateral body is by definition shapely. Its segments provide occasions for color to de-
scribe the parts. Green breasts, jostling belly, flat thighs, perfect withers. The action is in the abstraction. Anderson allows a cozy simultaneity of field and thing. Smartly, and simply, Anderson defamiliarizes the body’s shape, the better to explore its presence.
- Geoffrey Young
In Meg Lipke’s world, a painting is beautiful if it’s both hard and easy to look at. “Easy” because her works are physical, periodically eloquent, often massive in feel, frequently gorgeous; and “hard” because the touch derives from art brut, the mark making from unfussy, matter of fact movement. If her tone can be brooding-her off-the-cuff insouciance aggressive-her spaces are still never less than inviting. When studied, they beguile; when resisted, they wait patiently, comfortable in their complexity. Lipke’s surfaces are fields of action & reaction. She’s been on that field, in mind and body, dealing with conflicting emotions, letting the work lead her. She weaves, she fits, she scumbles, she presides, she enters. Accidents, overlaps, and incidental histories are preserved or wiped away in the spark of a work’s birth. Surprises abound; the right kinds of questions are housed and answered in complex “edifices,” her imaginary solutions to painterly problems. Life can be messy, she knows, but a stunning mess trumps a safe harbor. Lipke writes, “I’m bored by beauty (prettiness, harmony), if there’s nothing else. I want a painting to be quirky, wonky, mismatched, and almost ugly, so that the beauty that is there has something to rub up against. So that I’m still thinking about it later.”
- Geoffrey Young: a poet, artist, curator and art dealer and owns Geoffrey Young Gallery as well as The Figures Small Press in Great Barrington, MA.
Please join Proto Gallery to celebrate the fifth exhibition of the inaugural season, PROTO INTRO TWO, featuring contemporary work by eight artists working in a variety of media including painting, drawing, and fabrics, as well as glass and plaster sculpture. This exhibition marks one year of Proto Gallery in Hoboken.
PROTO INTRO TWO will be on view through Sunday September 12, 2014 at Proto Gallery with work by the following artists:
works in numerous media producing sensitively crafted work relating to the natural world and it's relationship to science and humanity's conquests. This exhibition will feature several pieces by Bittle, including a large painting and projected video.
creates theatrical still-life paintings where hybrid toys are staged as characters in old-world master landscapes. Several of Godeke's landscape-still-life works are featured.
is simultaneously a master glass blower and conceptual artist creating uniquely humorous work that challenges ideas of irrationality and logic, pitting Zen Buddhism against physics and philosophy. Keikichi Honna's large-scale glass floor installation of hand-blown glass stones will fill a large section of the floor of Proto Gallery.
builds small-scale works in plaster, paper, and found materials that reflect the forms seen in architecture and daily life. Numerous small plaster wall sculptures are included in this exhibition.
paints sparse invented landscapes and interiors where people and objects act out small and personal narratives against fields of color and texture. She is interested themes related our notions of hiding or protecting one's self.
uses found fabrics combined with painting and drawing to make simple and powerful works-on-paper that discuss domesticity and craft, and relate to the regional history of embroidery in New Jersey. Proto Intro Two will feature several pieces by this artist both large and small in scale.
generates high-resolution compositions of shattered glass and other elements using photographic technology of his own design to create large-scale digital prints that elevate splinters of glass and fluid colors into grand abstract gestures.
constructs paintings that explore the influence of digital media and the internet on current visual culture with abstract compositions that elevate posterized web graphics and video game-like visuals to epic scale.
Don't miss your last chance to see a group exhibition featuring six contemporary artists using the human form directly or obliquely in the media of painting, video, sculpture, and photographic processes this Sunday during the Gallery Walk.
- Michelle Doll - Luisa Kazanas - Alexandra Rubinstein - Francis Schanberger - Jessie Stead - Barnett Suskind -
The gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday10:00 AM to 4:00PM or by appointment
Princesses and Patsies: Madness, Murder, and Other Mayhem
Paintings & Drawings by Robert Preston
on display from Friday, May 10 to Sunday, June 2, 2013
Friday, May 10, 2013 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Hoboken Gallery Walk Reception:
Sunday, May 19 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM
The gallery is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday
10:00 AM to 4:00 PM or by appointment
66 Willow Avenue Hoboken, NJ 07030
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