Mark Hagen at Marlborough Chelsea

The exhibition titled “Black Hole” at Marlborough Chelsea is a solo show of new work by Mark Hagen. In the back gallery there is a series of paintings based on rhombi. A rhombus is a equilateral quadrilateral, a four sided figure where all sides have the same length. In these paintings the rhombi are diamond-shaped, similar to the shape found in wire fencing.


“Bumping into this thing or that from conception to decomposition like dumb pebbles on a beach on an alien beach in a remote corner of the universe” 2016, acrylic through burlap, artist frame (titanium anodized with diet coke)

This first work features a series of scattered rhombic triples, created by shifting and overlapping the rhombi along the shorter of the two diagonals. It is important to know that these are not your typical hard edge paintings. Hagen masks off his shapes using tape and plastic then paint is poured through sun-exposed burlap. His unique process creates a more textural quality.


Left “To Be Titled” (Screen Painting #8), 2016 acrylic through burlap, artist frame(titanium anodized with diet coke). Right “To Be Titled” (Screen Painting #1), 2016.

These next two paintings are non-square grids. By changing the thickness of the number of lines between the two works the artist presents various examples of the diamond pattern theme. By limiting his geometric vocabulary to one type of shape in this series of work, Hagen has created a visual dialog of comparison.

Pictures courtesy of the gallery and the artists.

Susan Happersett

“Incomplete Cubes” at Mike Weiss Gallery

“Objects and Everyday Goods” a group show at the Mike Weiss Gallery includes a series of five of Michael Zelehoski‘s “Incomplete Cube” re-purposed wood and ply wood paintings.

16-12-01The subject matter, the title as well as the materials, immediately reminded me of Sol Lewitt’s 1974 installation “Incomplete Open Cubes”. But these paintings have an extra element of complexity. The 2-D paintings acquire their perception of depth without the use of shading. Instead foreshortening and lines are used to illustrate which elements of each cube is in the foreground or the background.
In this middle painting the center horizontal leg seems to be cutting across the front of the figure but it is attached to the vertical leg at the right of the image that seems to be in the background. So this is not really a cube. if all of the angles in the form are 90 degrees it is actually an impossible figure. What I found so interesting about this work is the way it appears to directly reference historically important work but up on closer inspection there is an unexpected twist that takes the work into a more complex geometry.


Atoms and Bytes at Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington State

The Bellevue Arts Museum in Washington State is currently presenting “Atoms and Bytes – Redefining Craft in the Digital Age”. This exhibition addresses art, crafts, and design that utilize new technologies and software to create objects. Digital interfaces and equipment once found only in laboratories now are available to a more general public. Most of  work on display has been created using tools like computer-aided design, additive layer manufacturing ( 3-D printing), and computer numerical control, which is a process that enables a machine to cut into a solid to create a new shape. There is also work  created using constantly updated web based data in the galleries.

“50 Different Minds (Homage to Josef and Anni Albers)” by LigoranoReese is hand-woven from fiber optic threads. The patterns are determined by software that provides real-time web based data on air traffic at the nine busiest airport in the US. The colors are based on Josef Albers’ color theory and change in response to responses from viewers that use color words in their tweets.


LigoranoReese have woven together technology and the sociological implications of this technology to create an deceptively beautiful tapestry.

“Emerging Objects”, a design collaborative, uses small PLA plastic elements to build a structure that acts as a room. “Star Lounge” is composed of a multitude of PLA plastic hexagons. Some keep their shape as a regular hexagon, some are slightly misshaped to form this large domed igloo like form.



“Atoms and Bytes” presented the a broad selection of work intersecting the boundaries of crafts, design and art. The exhibition approached these objects on two fronts. The technical properties of actual the production were explained with an overview of educational wall texts. Individual signage addressed the cultural inspiration or implications of the items on display. This was one of the most technologically based, well documented, educational shows I have seen.

Susan Happersett

Art Fair Week NYC

This past week there were nine different art fairs held in New York City. The largest was the Art Fair Week NYC that was held on a pier on the west side of town. The Contemporary Fine Arts Gallery from Berlin was there, featuring the work of Marianne Vitale. She made with this very interesting floor sculpture made of rusted steel rail road track.


Marianne Vitale – 2016 – Steel
Picture courtesy of the gallery and the artist

This piece is a square composed of four squares that are placed so the parallel lines of each square are perpendicular to the parallel line of the adjacent squares. This reminded me of the process of weaving with the perpendicular warp and weft.

The next day I went to the Art on Paper Fair where I saw this wall hanging “16th Vanishing and Emerging Wall” by Hideho Tanaka at the browngrotta arts (Wilton, CT) booth.


Hideho Tanaka – “16th Vanishing and Emerging Wall” – 2009
Picture courtesy of the gallery and the artist

Although the outer edge of this work is an oval the piece is all about parallel and perpendicular.


Hideho Tanaka – “16th Vanishing and Emerging Wall” (Detail) – 2009
Picture courtesy of the gallery and the artist

Each of the sections – most are square – are placed so that the parallel lines in each square are at a 90 degree angle with the parallel lines in the adjacent squares  in a similar fashion as the squares in Vitale’s floor sculpture.

Over the course of three days I saw a lot of art and navigated crowds of people. At some points it was bit overwhelming. It was gratifying to see two artists tackle the same geometric theme in two unique ways.

Susan Happersett

Hayal Pozanti at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

“Deep Learning”,  Hayal Pozanti’s solo show, currently on display at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield Connecticut, features work related to technology and the human experience. Robert D. Hof’s article “Deep Learning” (MIT Technology Review, April 23,2013) is quoted in the catalog: Deep Learning in reference to “software [that] attempts to mimic the activity in layers of neurons in the neocortex”.

Pozanti employs her own alphabet of 31 shapes named “Instant Paradise” to create paintings and digital animations. Her new, large scale rectangular paintings are the same proportions of a smartphone screen but blown up to almost room sized canvases.


“Sixty Seven” – 2015
Courtesy the artist, Jessica Silverman Gallery San Fransisco and the Aldrich Museum

The paintings are all based on source data that is documented in the curatorial signage. “Sixty Seven” has “Source data: milliseconds it takes for the human brain to form a microexpression”.

Pozanti generates images through a process of selecting and overlapping shapes from her alphabet. The more the images are repeated over time the more recognizable they become. This is similar to the way Deep Learning software operates. All of these canvases were hand painted. Instead of using a computer to create these images, the artist is generating the work in reference to the software.


Gallery View

In the center of the gallery, video screens are suspended from the ceiling above eye level. Their placement and size are like an airport terminal or waiting room. Each screen is playing one of Pozanti’s digital videos featuring images generated from the “Instant Paradise” alphabet. The videos have a sound track of abstract poetry developed by assigning the shapes sounds.

Hayal Pozanti’s work relates to mathematics in two ways. The images have been created using algorithmic rules to explore the permutations of possibilities combining 31 distinct shapes. The paintings and videos are also an expression of computer’s ability to mimic human processes, as well as, how humans react to the technology that is now part of everyday life.

Susan Happersett