Polly Apfelbaum at Alexander Gray Associates

The exhibition “Polly Apfelbaum: The Potential of Women” at the Alexander Gray Associates gallery features a new series of gauche paintings inspired by the 1963 book “The Potential of Woman”.
Written for a symposium of the same name, this text offers a condescending outlook on the future contributions of women. The cover design by Rudolph deHarek features a portrait of a woman’s head using flat shapes of color with a vertical line of reflective symmetry.
Using this image as a staring point, Apfelbaum repeats and rotates the original form to create paintings with a variety symmetrical properties.
In this work the woman’s head has been repeated once and rotated 180 degrees, creating order 2 rotational symmetry.
For this next painting the head is repeated 6 more times. The arrangement of 7 women offers some more complex patterns. By slightly altering the central figure the artist was able to impose both vertical and horizontal lines of reflective symmetry in this work.
Apfelbaum’s appropriation of this particular image offers a socially charged commentary. The use of mathematics to manipulate the image creates a dynamic visual dialogue.
Susan Happersett
All pictures courtesy of the gallery

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.


“Red Stack” – oil and mixed media – 2015


“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.


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


“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.