The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. Since its inception Aldrich has been committed to the collection and display of modern art, including some of the most important work in the areas of Minimalism, Conceptual, and Geometric art. The founder Larry Aldrich acquired the work of Eva Hess, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, and many others. For the 50th anniversary a two part exhibition has been installed in the galleries over the past year. The curators have created a connection between the historical artwork from the early years of the museum to contemporary art. Artists were asked to respond to the work from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
David Scanavino’s site-specific room-sized installation “Imperial Texture” is the artist’s dialog with the work of Richard Artschwager. Artschwager is well known for his use of formica to make geometric forms that have the same shape as everyday items but can not actually be used as such. His sculpture “Pyramid Object” from 1967 was displayed near Scanavino’s installation.
“Imperial Texture” 2014
Courtesy of the artist and the museum
“Imperial Texture” consists of a grid of 1 by 1 foot square linoleum tiles that have been installed into the gallery at an angle so that they come off the floor and climb the walls. The tiling pattern was developed using computer software to make a digital model. This fact alone would make this a mathematically interesting piece. But what I find mathematically inspirational about this environment is the impact of a 2-D grid being retrofit into the 3-D rectangular box. The traditional gallery space has a multicolored seemingly random patterned floor, that has been shifted leaving part of the floor uncovered. Scanavino’s decision to place the grid at an angle has created series of right triangles with their hypotenuses running along the lines where the walls meet the floors. “Imperial Texture” gives the museum visitor an altered sense of space. The linoleum floor we are accustomed to seeing on the floors of schools, stores and other industrial and institutional settings has shifted out of it’s practical floor covering purpose.
The Umbrella Arts Gallery in the East Village is presenting a show titled “Off the Grid”, which features work that is created using a grid formation, or is displayed in a grid presentation. Audrey Stone works with thread to produce fine line patterns. Her work in this exhibition offers elegant representations of squares and grids.
The thread drawing on paper “blue X” comprises of an 8 by 8 square grid. Each square has thirteen line segments radiating from one of its corners to points on the opposite sides of the square. The drawing has four-fold rotational symmetry. To achieve this symmetry, the artist has chosen from which corner of each grid square the line segments radiate. In the squares located in the upper left quarter of the drawing, the lower right corner is the point of where all thirteen line segments meet. In the upper right quarter of the work the lower left corner of each grid square is the radiating point. The lower left quarter of the drawing has the line segments all go to the upper right corner. And finally in the lower right quarter, the line segments radiate from the upper left corner.
“The Lion and the Lamb” is a sewn painting, created with thread and paint on stretched linen. This work is more directly related to squares and the parallel lines of concentric squares. The top half of the piece shows half of a series of cencentric sqaures and uses paint. The form at the bottom of the canvas shows a series of complete concentric squares and is is sewn with thread onto the canvas.
Stone’s use of thread to create the lines in her drawings relates to traditional women’s needle work, but her subject matter is based in mathematical geometry.
“Off the grid” is on display at Umbrella Arts, 317 east 9th St until February 28. It is definitely worth a trip to the East Village.
Paul Pagk is a critically acclaimed NY painter who work deals with abstract geometries. The 33 Orchard gallery is exhibiting a selection of his recent works on paper. Titled “November Drawings” this entire series of work was produced during November 2014. Tacked unframed onto the gallery walls, the work consists of a series of abstractions created in graphite, ink, oil pastel, pencil, pen, watercolor, and gouache.
The drawings were created in a prolific progression: the artist completing up to twenty works per day. They relate to the themes in Pagk’s painting practice. The works on paper seem to visualize the artist’s stream of consciousness. The mind to paper immediacy creates an exciting and fresh take on geometry. The work at 33 Orchard have a much more sketchy and expressive quality then some of the artists work on canvas. Many of the drawings in this show have Mathematical elements.
This work consists on a red and black rectangular grid with both horizontal and vertical lines of reflection symmetry. The red spaces do not have clean edges instead the pigment goes out beyond the sides of the rectangle. The black lines that make up horizontal and vertical markings give the work a sense of movement. You can really see the hand of the artist.
A 2-D rendering of the outline of a 3-D rectangular prism, this work has a band of purple as a background. The delicate black line drawing is in the foreground. An extra vertical plain is sketched through the prism and out beyond the purple band. This vertical element, in conjunction with the 3-D object, seems to allude to the Cartesian coordinate system. I feel Pagk’s success in producing such large selection of work so quickly and thoughtfully is due to his dedication to his painting practice. The “November Drawings” are a more direct and tactile representation of mathematical ideas. In my own drawing process I refer to my mark making as mathematical meditations, and I think this description also applies to Pagk’s month of drawing.
A solo exhibition entitled “Drift” by c is currently installed at Callicoon Fine Arts Gallery on the Lower East Side in Manhattan. The show is made up of a diverse selection of work, addressing the plight of refugees lost and perishing at sea. Bergvall has published an artist book also titled “Drift” with Nightboat Books. Although the theme of the art included in this exhibition is not mathematic, one of the pieces in the show does have a mathematical component.
Courtesy of the artist and Callicoon Fine Arts, NY
The video “Seafarer” from 2014 consists of electronic text that floats in and out of view in a 17-minute loop. The sequence of textual images has been produced using algorithms to determine which words appear at each moment in time and and space. The words in video take on an ghostly presence as they move in and out of focus. When discussing the topic of Mathematical Art, I feel that it is important to include work that has been produced or generated by mathematical algorithms. Although the subject matter of Bergvall’s body of work is not Math, the use of mathematics was essential in creating the ethereal and emotionally moving environment to present her text.