The Morgan Lehman Gallery is currently holding it’s second Twenty by Sixteen Biennial. Each of the 38 artists displays two works of art, each 20 inches tall and 16 inches wide. The mathematical rules of the allowed proportions of the art work intrigued me. With these limitations the style and subject matter of each participant becomes even more important.
Eric Doeringer 20″ and 16″ (After Mel Bochner) both 2017 Picture courtesy of the artist
These two canvases by Eric Doeringer reference the work of Mel Bochner and are a direct answer to the parameters of the exhibit.
Wendy Small “Remedy” color photogram, 2016 Picture courtesy of the artist
Wendy Small’s two photograms titled “Remedy” feature botanical patterns that have been replicated four times to create both horizontal and vertical lines of reflective symmetry.
Carly Glovinski “Leisure Weave 6”,Ink on paper, 2017 Picture courtesy of the artist
The creation of plaid patterns involves all sorts of geometric possibilities. Carly Glovinski uses pen and ink to develop intricate woven plaid patterns. The seven horizontal strips are all of the same coloration and pattern with a reflective line of symmetry. The vertical strips are more complex. The two outer strips are the same stripes of colors but reversed in order. The next two strips are the same and they both possess reflective symmetry. the center strip is a type all it’s own but it also has a vertical line of symmetry. With all of these separate configurations Glovinski was able to create a 20’X 16″ panel of plaid with a both horizontal and vertical lines of reflective symmetry.
This Biennial has an underlying mathematical theme, through the prescribed size of the art work. Some the artists used these proportions to create work that included geometric and symmetrical exploration.
There are a number of Upper East Side galleries that display museum caliber exhibitions of historically significant art. The current show at the Dominique Lévy gallery “Drawing Then, Innovation and Influence in American drawings of the Sixties” is an excellent example. It features work by some of my favorite artists like Eva Hesse, Agnes Martin, and Cy Twombly. The list goes on and on, there is even a Sol Lewitt wall drawing.
There are two works on display that relate the most directly to Mathematics. Mel Bochner’s “3” from 1966, is an homage to a Sierpinski Triangle. An equilateral triangular grid formation has been strategically filled in with hand written number 3’s and words that begin with letters “Tri”. The positive and negative shapes created delineate the fractal construction of a Sierpinski Triangle.
The second drawing is Josef Albers’ “Reverse + Obverse” from 1962. This line drawing is a 2-D rendering of 3-D constructions.
Josef Albers -“Reverse+Obverse” – 1962 Picture courtesy of the gallery
Both the top and bottom pairs of the figures employ a 180 degree rotation, an order-2 rotational symmetry. This work is a geometric expression of a form turning through space.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the MOMA’s ground breaking 1976 exhibition, “Drawing Now”. The current show at Dominique Lévy gallery is true to this historical reference, focusing on work from the turbulent years from 1960-1969. There is a wide range of work on display from drawings with social commentary, to drawings exploring the aesthetics of minimalism and conceptual rule-based art.