David Scanavino at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

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.

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“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.

Susan Happersett

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