Harmony Hammond at Alexander Gray Associates

Alexander Gray Associates gallery in Chelsea is currently exhibiting recent work of Harmony Hammond. In the 1970’s Hammond was an influential feminist artist. Her current work is abstract, but with an emphasis on process and physicality. The materiality of these almost monochrome works relate to earlier themes of the human body.

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“Red Stack” – oil and mixed media – 2015

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“Red Stack” – oil and mixed media – 2015 (detail)

The painting “Red Stack” features a series of evenly placed horizontal straps, as well as a grid of metal grommets. The linearity of the rows of raised strips of fabric is interrupted by the circular grommets. This work has a very sculpture quality with a rough surface that keeps all of the lines and proportions from being hard edged and perfect.

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“White Rims #1” – Monotype on paper with metal grommets – 2015

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“White Rims #1” – Monotype on paper with metal grommets – 2015 (detail)

The monotype “White Rims #1” showcases the concentric circles created by the grommets. The  organized 5 x 7 grid of holes juxtaposes the more random pigmentation of the print. The ink flows and pools and plumes around the structures. The edges of the paper have a rough, almost torn, quality that is in contrast to the gridded repetition of the circles. There is a push and pull of chaos versus order, geometry versus the physicality of Hammond”s artistic process.

All Pictures courtesy of the artist and the gallery.

Susan

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Huguette Caland at Natalie Karg

The exhibition “Silent Letters” is currently on view at the Natalie Karg gallery. This exhibition features paintings of Huguette Caland from the past 18 years. Originally from Lebanon, Caland is the daughter of the first post colonial president of that country. She worked in Paris before moving to Los Angeles. Her work has spanned numerous styles and subject matter.

16-19-01This series of square format paintings explore both proportion and geometry. In this work the canvas has a pair of adjacent squares placed horizontally. The center of the canvas that have sides that are one half the length of canvas. In each corner ,the artist has placed squares with sides one quarter the length of the canvas. Using the measurements of the canvas as a reference point Caland builds geometric relationships between the figures.

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This second example features squares in more complex play of proportions. Each of the five small darker squares have sides with length one fifth that of the canvas and the large lighter center square has sides with length three fifths the measure of the canvas. Caland’s interest in grids is more visible in this work. Her use of vertical lines to fill in the spaces reminds me of the mark making of Agnes Martin.
The geometric themes of the paintings in “Silent Letters” are strong but it is Caland’s process of filling in the shapes that makes the work personal.

Susan Happersett

MANUSxMACHINA, Fashion in the age of Technology at the Met

Every year in May the Metropolitan Museum of Art presents an elaborate fashion exhibit. The Costume Institute at the Museum produces a huge show, not in their usual space in the basement, but instead in transformed rooms in the main galleries. This year the exhibition is titled “MANUSxMACHINA, Fashion in the age of Technology”. It examines the way relationship of couture designer clothing and the use of machines. I was not expecting to see any Mathematical references, but I was pleasantly surprised.

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Miyake Design Studio “Flying Saucer” , Dress (flat), 1994

The  pleats on “Flying Saucer” Dress by Miyake Design were machine garment-pleated, creating a series of pleated circles. When lying flat it is easy to see the large center circle that create the body of the dress and smaller circles that form sleeves. The center points of the circles are in a straight line.

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Miyake Design Studio “Flying Saucer” , Dress (unfolded), 1994

When the dress is opened to show its accordion construction, the body and sleeves become pleated cylinders.

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Threeasfour, “Bahai” dress, 2014

The “Bahai” dress by design team Threeasfour features 3-D  printed elements by Materialise. The structure of this dress alludes to complex geometries. Here is a quote from Threeasfour from the exhibit’s wall signage:

“Next-generation 3-D modeling programs were used to construct the six degrees of fractal growth where each element operates independently from the rest”.

It is obvious mathematics was an intrinsic tool used to create this garment. As more and more designers have access to advanced technology, there will be great opportunities for them to use Mathematical themes and processes in their work.

Susan Happersett

Chinati

Donald Judd put the town of Marfa, Texas on the art world map. He founded this amazing museum, so that large conceptual art installations could be on permanent display. Originally this project was in conjunction with DIA but now it is supported by the independent Chinati Foundation. The museum is situated in the high desert of Western Texas with views of the Chinati mountain range. Art can be seen both in large re-purposed military buildings and outside on the expansive grounds.

Access to the interior galleries is limited to pre-arranged tours but Judd’s iconic work “Untitled, 15 works in concrete” from 1980-1984 can be visited without reservations.

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The 15 arrangements of concrete rectangular solids consist of a total of 60 forms all fabricated on site. All have of these elements have the same exterior measurements of 2.5 meters high by 2.5 meters deep by 5 meters long. The slabs of concrete are 25 centimeters thick.  The grouping of forms are situated in a straight line and  60 meters apart over a length of 1 kilometer. Each arrangement has between 3 and 6 of the concrete sculptural elements. Judd’s placement of the rectangular open blocks is also mathematically specific relying on a series of ratios to best differentiate the 15 installations and the shadows created by the natural light.

I went to visit the site twice.  Once in the bright sun of mid morning and again in the late afternoon. The pictures above were taken during my afternoon visit. The angles of the shadows, both within the concrete forms and on the landscape varies dramatically. By creating a set of numerical rules that allowed for a uniformity of the elements then exploring 15 permutations for this these building blocks in a dramatic setting Judd has provided the viewer an amazing experience to feel a physical connection to the art.

Susan Happersett