Picture courtesy of the gallery and the artist
4-fold rotational symmetry
Warren Isensee at Danese Corey Gallery
The Danese Corey Gallery is currently exhibiting the abstract geometric paintings of Warren Isensee. The artist uses a playful vocabulary of color to achieve an exciting sense of light. The straight edges are all hand painted without the aid of taping and Isensee uses adjacent colors that create enough tension that the work pulses with energy.
The large square canvas “Dark Heart” provides an interesting perspective on the grid. Floating in a field of steel blue, the yellow black and red figure is made up of solid and striped squares. Alternating from horizontal to vertical of striped squares, the patterning draws the viewer’s eye to the two central horizontal bands. This work features both horizontal an vertical axises of symmetry through its center .
“Surface Noise” offers the viewer an optical trick. At first glance it appears to have a nice neat four-fold rotational symmetry. The artist has painstaking created detailed elements of the composition that possess four-fold rotational symmetrical patterns. Only after close inspection you realize that the small center form is a rectangle and not a square. This painting has horizontal and vertical axises of symmetry, but it is not four-fold rotational symmetry. I think the slight deviation makes “Surface Noise” more interesting. It becomes a commentary on the visual expectations of symmetry.
Pictures courtesy of the gallery and the artist.
More math art next time
Judith Lauand at Driscoll/Babcock Galley
Judith Lauand is referred to as “Dama do concretismo” or “The First Lady of Concretism”. She is an important figure in 20th century Brazilian Art. Concretism (called “Arte Concreta” in Brazil) is an international post WWII artistic Movement that included the use of a networks of mathematical geometry to build precise abstract systems of pattern.
The exhibition at Driscoll/Babcock is Lauand’s first solo show in NYC. Dr Aliza Edelman has curated “Judith Lauand: Brazilian Modernism 1950s-2000s”. This collection of paintings and drawings demonstrates Lauands significant geometric vocabulary. Her paintings feature bright flat hard edge figures.
“Concerto 66” is a circular panel with four lightening bolt shapes radiating from the center, creating a four fold rotation symmetry.
“Concerto 178” is tempera on canvas and is more of a line drawing. Two rhombi are surrounded by a host of triangles building a tiling type of pattern with 2 fold rotational symmetry.
Lauand’s work is a great example of the emphasis on mathematics in important post-war abstract artistic practices.
Michelle Grabner at James Cohan Gallery
The exploration and study of pattern have been defining elements in the artistic practice of Michelle Grabner. One of the topics addressed through abstract patterning is the structures and geometries underlying weaving knitting and crocheting. Her current exhibition at the James Cohan Gallery features a large collection of her two-color paper weaving panels spread out flat on two pedestals in the gallery.
The vibrant contrasting colored papers used in the weavings give the viewer a clear impression of the grids and symmetries used in each of the weaving techniques. The gallery arrangement of having many next to each other and overlapping creates an exhuberant riot of color and pattern.
Grabner also creates paintings that uncover the intricate patterns created by knitting and crocheting. They are more subtle in color but incorporate more intense patterns.
This painting on canvas is a depiction of a giant crocheted square. Removing any indication of color and focusing on the negative space, the 4-fold rotational symmetry becomes quite clear.
This exhibition at the James Cohan gallery reveals Grabner’s commitment to elevating the patterns and Mathematical geometries of what could be considered “woman’s work” to the realm of abstract art. By enlarging the weave patterns and limiting each panel to two bold colors they refer to both color field painting and Op-Art. The more subtle crochet and knit canvases transpose the needle work into a minimalist vocabulary. The field of historical craft traditions has proven fertile ground for the expression of mathematical form.
All pictures courtesy of the artist and the gallery.