Julio Le Parc at the Met Breuer

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.

Susan Happersett

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Mark Hagen at Marlborough Chelsea

The exhibition titled “Black Hole” at Marlborough Chelsea is a solo show of new work by Mark Hagen. In the back gallery there is a series of paintings based on rhombi. A rhombus is a equilateral quadrilateral, a four sided figure where all sides have the same length. In these paintings the rhombi are diamond-shaped, similar to the shape found in wire fencing.

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“Bumping into this thing or that from conception to decomposition like dumb pebbles on a beach on an alien beach in a remote corner of the universe” 2016, acrylic through burlap, artist frame (titanium anodized with diet coke)

This first work features a series of scattered rhombic triples, created by shifting and overlapping the rhombi along the shorter of the two diagonals. It is important to know that these are not your typical hard edge paintings. Hagen masks off his shapes using tape and plastic then paint is poured through sun-exposed burlap. His unique process creates a more textural quality.

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Left “To Be Titled” (Screen Painting #8), 2016 acrylic through burlap, artist frame(titanium anodized with diet coke). Right “To Be Titled” (Screen Painting #1), 2016.

These next two paintings are non-square grids. By changing the thickness of the number of lines between the two works the artist presents various examples of the diamond pattern theme. By limiting his geometric vocabulary to one type of shape in this series of work, Hagen has created a visual dialog of comparison.

Pictures courtesy of the gallery and the artists.

Susan Happersett

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.

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Concerto 66 – 1957

“Concerto 66” is a circular panel with four lightening bolt shapes radiating from the center, creating a four fold rotation symmetry.

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Concerto 178

“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.

Susan Happersett