Today a guest blog entry from Elizabeth Whiteley:
If you find yourself in the Baltimore area, check out the current exhibit at the Walters Gallery. Titled “Designing the New: Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Style” it’s a large show with works by the famed Scottish architect and other designers such as Christopher Dresser, Jessie M. King, Margaret Macdonald, and Talwin Morris. It will be on display until January 5, 2020.
The wall note for this textile design, ‘Wave Pattern in Purple, Pink, Orange, and Black’, ca. 1915-23, says “Mackintosh’s precise use of contrast and symmetry here created a brilliant optical illusion. He aligned the white, purple, and orange loops vertically against the penciled grid, but the wavy arcs of pink and black create strong diagonals that pull the eye away from the underlying structure of the pattern.”
This drawing is a lampshade design for the standard lamp, The Hill House, 1905. It shows an effective way to use bilateral symmetry on a lozenge shape.
The wall note for this chair (1904-5) says, “This chair, which Mackintosh designed for his own home, is a slightly taller version of one he first created to accompany a writing desk for The Hill House. At first glance, the chair seems rigidly angular, especially with the two columns of squares, yet Mackintosh always offset such severe geometries with a subtle softer curving line—here seen in the tall, gently concave back.
Mignoni Gallery on the Upper East side of Manhattan is currently presenting an exhibition that juxtaposes Donald Judd’s aluminum wall sculptures and Kennet Noland’s geometric striped canvases.
“Untitled (Bernstein 88-14)” red anodized aluminum from 1988 explores the concept of positive and negative space. The solid raised rectangular boxes go from large to small, from left to right. The empty spaces between go from small to large from left to right. Judd’s horizontal structure creates a sense of linear movement across the wall of the gallery.
Noland’s “Galore” from 1996 is also an horizontal construction. The long flattened diamond shaped canvas is painted with a series of colorful straight lines. But instead of going straight across the wall, they run parallel to the lower left and upper right sides of the rhombus. This angled formation leaves the viewer slightly unbalanced.
The Met Brauer is currently featuring work recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This section of Modern and Contemporary Art is from Latin America, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia. Shown along side work that has been in the collection for a longer time this exhibit shows how work from various parts of the globe have commonalities. Divided into thematic sections, two sections “Spatial Reiterations” and “Marks and Measures” present Mathematical content.
Kasuko Miyamoto’s “UNTITLED” installation conceived in 1977 uses string and nails to create a 3-D line drawing that maps two lines of points on the ground to grids on the wall.
In the section titled “Spatial Reiterations” This work explores the juxtaposition of line versus plane by mapping many points on the wall to each point on the floor.
Mark Bradford’s “Crack Between the Floorboards” from 2014 is located in the section titled “Marks and Measures”. Created using paper, paint and tape on canvas this work explores the patterns found within our living spaces. Featuring a strong diagonal line the square is divided with horizontal and vertical sets of parallel lines.
This summer I had the privilege of seeing Manfred Mohr’s video “Cubic Limit” from 1973-1974. I was so happy to be able to see it again at Bitforms Gallery in NYC this Fall. The gallery is presenting “Manfred Mohr A Formal Language: Celebrating 50 Years of Artwork and Algorithms (1969-2019”. There is the full range of Mohr’s art on display including some more recent work.
The painting “P-511-0” from 1995-97. Is a static example of a algorithm based geometric work
The video “P-777_MA1” from 2002 is a dynamic colorful computer driven dance of geometry.
The exhibition has been extended until November 3rd
The art of constructing mobiles is a mathematical exercise. Creating a well balanced suspended sculpture requires the artist to calculate the appropriate distances for each of the weighted elements. “Calder Small Sphere and Heavy Sphere” is the inaugural exhibition at Pace’s new palatial gallery in Chelsea.
This “Untitled” Mobile from 1932 features four white spheres of various sizes and one tiny red sphere. The spheres are attached to ends of suspended rods.
For this Untitled Mobile from 1934 Calder seems to create an almost impossible equilibrium. The top rod has a single solid form suspended on the left and a second rod suspended on the right. From the second rod there two more suspended forms.
Richard Serra’s installation “Forged Rounds” is on display at Gagosian’s Chelsea location. I have always been a fan of Serra’s large scale work. Walking among the geometric architecture of his sculpture takes me to an otherworldly place. The juxtaposition of the pure shapes with the texture of the rusted metal becomes a form of meditation. “Forged Rounds” consists of three galleries inhabited with huge solid steel cylinders.
The heights of the cylinders and the dimensions of the circular bases are variable, offering a changing view throughout the space.
The monumental presence of each of these cylinders become solitary entities that interact with the other cylinders in the room.
Kathryn Markel gallery is currently featuring the “Now and later” , Deborah Zlotsky’s solo exhibition. The show features painting as well as tapestries made from vintage scarves. The textile work elevates the geometric patterns of these design into Art to be hung on a wall.
“For Sure 100%” from 2019 explores the use of squares, diagonals and right angles in 20th century design.
“A peculiar influence, subduing them into receptiveness”, 2019 draws its strength from the vertical parallel lines of the long rectangular scarf.
What I really like about these tapestries is they are highlighting geometry we see around us every day.
Brenda Danilowitz has curated the wonderful Anni Albers exhibition at David Zwirner’s West 20th street gallery. Albers is one the preeminent fiber artist of the 20th century. There are s number of her weaving masterworks on display. What I found special about this show was the works on paper. There was one large room devoted to gouache color studies, drawings and prints.
Some of the pieces from the 1970’s really caught my eye.
In each of these three works Albers has used a grid of squares. The squares have been split in half diagonally. The resulting isosceles right triangles have been colored in contrast to the other half.
“Color Study (Blue and Reds)” is a gouache and diazotype on paper from 1970.
“Study for Second Movement III” graphite on paper, 1970
“Second Movement III” two color copper plate etching, 1978
The Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse New York is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year. To celebrate they have are presenting great exhibitions. “Yoko Ono, Remembering the Future” is currently on display. Yoko Ono had her first solo museum show at the Everson in 1971. A conceptual artist, Ono’s work is often a set of rules or steps that can be carried out by other people in various settings. Some of the work includes Mathematical instructions. The construction “Morning Beams”(1997:2019) falls into this category.
The artist’s text that gives the parameters for installation is posted on gallery wall: “One hundred nylon robes emanating from a single source in the ceiling, suspended from top to bottom, anchored in concentric circles with metal plates”
Ono has incorporated both counting and geometry into to her expression of the phenomenon of sun beams.
Perrotin is featuring the work of Leslie Hewitt in a solo exhibition titled “Reading Room” at their gallery on the Lower East side of Manhattan. The show includes a wide range of media, photography and sculpture. It is the sheer metal, white powder coated “Untitled” floor installations from 2019 that offer the clearest geometric inspirations.
Each work consists of a flat rectangular plane that has a few linear folds. At these folds a section of the plane is bent at a 90 degree angle.
Each of the sculptures has at least one corner fold that forms an isosceles triangle with 45-90-45 degree angles that is perpendicular to the floor.
Here is an example with one corner fold and one fold that creates a rectangle also perpendicular to the floor.
This work has a isosceles triangle corner fold, a rectangular fold, then a third fold on the corner of the raised rectangular creating another Isosceles triangle.
The use of the flat white surface allows the viewer to concentrate on the folds and the resulting clean lines and shadows.