Once again this year the most popular venue in the conference hall is the Art exhibition. There were dozens of exciting art works on display and here are just a few of my favorites.
Matt Enlow’s prints “Breaking The Ruled” have been shaped to mimic the old school, student wide-ruled binder paper. In an interesting twist Enlow questions the confines of parallel lines. In this example the vertical red margin stays in its traditional location but the blue lines are no longer all horizontal instead the distance between them becomes smaller from left to write across the page. There is the perception that these might be parallel lines going into the distance, utilizing rules of perspective.
Stephen Kenny explores the concept of nine point circles in his color pencil drawing “Nine Point Circle and Euler Line for an Acute Angle”. A Nine Point Circle is constructed in reference to a particular triangle. The nine points consist of : the midpoints of each of the three sides, the foot of each of the three altitudes, and the mid point between each vertex and the orthocenter (the point where the three altitudes intersect). Kenny incorporates these complex geometric constructions to define the abstract shapes and create straight-edge wedges of color.
This year the Joint Mathematics Meeting was held in Baltimore Maryland. There has been a lot of discussion into the mathematics involved in the patterns of knitting, crocheting and other needle crafts. One of the featured events at the conference was a Knitting Circle, where people could work on, and share, their fiber arts projects. Much of the work being produced had a mathematical component. Here are a few photos from the gathering.
The MET Breuer is currently presenting a solo exhibition of the work of Julio Le Parc. Focusing predominantly on his work made around the year 1959, just at the time the Argentinian artist moved to Paris. Much of the work on display involves the use of sequences of geometric figures to create a sense of movement through space.
In “Rotation of Fractioned Circles” each of the unevenly divided circles remain the same. It the position of the dividing chord within each circle that changes as the circle rotates 10 degrees around it center point. The progression follows left to right then down to the next line then left to right again.
“Metamorphosis of a Line” is a series of nine panels beginning on the left with a horizontal line segment. This line segment seems to fold open becoming a rhombus with obtuse angles at the top and bottom vertices. These angles become smaller. On the fifth panel all vertices are 90 degree angles forming a square. The angles of the top and bottom vertices continue to decrease. The angles of the side vertices of become obtuse until the rhombus folds inward leaving a vertical line segment.
Le Parc’s elegant and precise gouaches illustrate geometric forms changing and moving through a series of consecutive images. These works are the precursor to his later Kinetic art in the 1960’s.
LUNA FETE is New Orleans’ annual festival of light art and technology. One of the monumental installations this year was “Fallen Stars” presented by the design collective Raven PMG.
Each of the icosahedron star sculptures incorporate pulsing lines of lights to create ever changing 3-D drawings in the darkness.
The huge scale of the stars allow the viewer to walk through the collection of stars and be transported into the celestial theme.
The Guggenheim museum is presenting the first major solo US exhibition of the groundbreaking work of Hilma af Klint, titled “Paintings of the Future”. Although created in the early part of 20th century, this work remained virtually unrecognized until 1986. These paintings made between 1906 and 1915 are now considered paradigm changing so the first non representational totally abstract work of the Western world. The artist felt her art was too radical for her contemporaries so she did to want them shown until twenty years after her death.
Although her art was based and generated by af Klint’s spiritual practice, the paintings depict geometric phenomenon.
This large painting is “No.17 Group IX/SUW, The Swan ” from 1915. It shows a circle bifurcated through the vertical center line. The left hand side consists of two layers an outer white layer and an inner black core. The right hand side in contrast has three concentric layers of bright colors.
This concentric theme has been examined many artists years later.
“No 22 Group IX /SUW, The Swan” also from 1915, examines the concept of a cube projected on the 2-D plane. Dividing the square canvas with guide lines one through the center vertically, and two horizontal lines. These horizontal lines are located a distance away from the top and bottom of the canvas of 1/4 of the length of each side. This configuration creates two squares in the center of the work to build the isosceles triangles and rhombi to create the illusion of the cube and it’s interior space.
This exhibition is really a major development in the art world. The well deserved recognition of Hilda af Klint is finally receiving, requires art history to make adjustments to both it’s time line and credit for the development of abstract painting. As someone interested in abstract geometric paintings for a long time, as I walked up the spirals of the Guggenheim Museum I kept thinking about these painting that I was seeing for the first time, “where have you been all of my life?”
The exhibition “Programmed: Rules, Codes, and Choreographies in Art, !965-2018” currently on display at the Whitney Museum offers a broad sample of Art created using rules and computation. Including both early examples as well as more contemporary work this show highlights the progression of algorithmic art. Sol Lewitt was a pioneer of this type of conceptually generated work.
Lewitt’s wall drawing “4th wall 24 lines from the center, 12 lines from the midpoint of each of the sides, 12 lines from each corner” from “Wall Drawing #289”, 1976 is featured prominently in the first gallery. On display in the same room are Casey Reas’ video installations “(Software) Structure #003 A” and “(Software) Structure #003 B”.
Here is a still shot.
These videos are in direct response to the work of Sol Lewitt. Like Lewitt’s wall drawings Reas begins the process for each video with a verbal description but then generates the images using computer programming.
Cheyney Thompson uses the Drunken Walk Algorithm to facilitate the building of concrete sculptures.
“Broken Volumes (10L)” 2013 was constructed using one-inch concrete cubes, the placement of each successive cube is decided by the Drunken or Random Walk Algorithm. Each sculpture in the series is comprised of 10 Liters of cubes. The random nature of the decision making process for each permutation does not take into account the structural integrity of the sculpture. Some of the pieces break because sections become too heavy. The contrast between the rigid nature of rule based processes and the physical limits of the materials offers insight into the dichotomies of technology and physicality.
“Terraform” is Daniel Lefcourt’s current solo exhibition of new paintings at the Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery in Chelsea. Lefcourt has painted a series of abstract aerial landscapes. Created using algorithmic processes, they reference scientific, industrial and military imaging.
The painting “Terraform (Soundings)” from 2018 was generated by first staining the canvas and then tracing and diagramming stains. These overview maps of fictional landscapes utilize rule based systems and offer commentary on power of technological surveillance.
“Punched Card”, Analia Saban’s solo exhibition, includes work from the artists “Tapestry” series. This series introduces two very interesting dichotomies. The patterns presented in these weavings are circuits boards that allude to the history of computers into the digital age. The title of each work references the actual technical hardware. This is juxtaposed with the process of weaving on Jacquard looms that was one of the first industrial uses of binary analog systems.
For these weavings, Saban uses linen thread for the warp and strips of dried acrylic paint for the weft. This choice of materials opens the dialog about the distinctions between what has been considered fine art (painting) and craft (weaving). The first weaving you see as you walk into the gallery (above) is hung on a wall, but farther into the space there is an installation of tapestries hung from the ceiling.
If you are planning to visit London very soon, consider viewing “Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computer.” The exhibit is at the V&A Museum until November 18. It’s a small and well selected show of pioneering work since 1968. That year there was an international show titled “Cybernetic Serendipity” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in London. Many of those artists are included in this exhibit.
Vera Molnar (French, born 1924) detail from “Interruptions”
One of the wall notes contains a description of the way images were produced in the early years of computer-generated art. Next to a work by George Nees it says “The plotter was operated by feeding punched tape into a computer that used the instruction to direct a pen across a drawing surface. As the computer had no screen, Nees would not have been able to fully anticipate the appearance of the resulting drawing.” Nowadays, we can preview an image pixel by pixel!
Manfred Mohr (French, born 1938), detail from “P-049” from the portfolio “Scratch Code”
Georg Nees (German, 1926-2016), “Untitled’ [red black]
Thanks for your contribution Elizabeth! Next week more New York art.