Richard Serra at Gagosian Chelsea

Richard Serra’s installation “Forged Rounds” is on display at Gagosian’s Chelsea location. I have always been a fan of Serra’s large scale work. Walking among the geometric architecture of his sculpture takes me to an otherworldly place. The juxtaposition of the pure shapes with the texture of the rusted metal becomes a form of meditation. “Forged Rounds” consists of three galleries inhabited with huge solid steel cylinders.

The heights of the cylinders and the dimensions of the circular bases are variable, offering a changing view throughout the space.

The monumental presence of each of these cylinders become solitary entities that interact with the other cylinders in the room.

Susan Happersett

Leslie Hewitt at Perrotin Gallery

Perrotin is featuring the work of Leslie Hewitt in a solo exhibition titled “Reading Room” at their gallery on the Lower East side of Manhattan. The show includes a wide range of media, photography and sculpture. It is the sheer metal, white powder coated “Untitled” floor installations from 2019 that offer the clearest geometric inspirations.

Each work consists of a flat rectangular plane that has a few linear folds. At these folds a section of the plane is bent at a 90 degree angle.

Each of the sculptures has at least one corner fold that forms an isosceles triangle with 45-90-45 degree angles that is perpendicular to the floor.

Here is an example with one corner fold and one fold that creates a rectangle also perpendicular to the floor.

This work has a isosceles triangle corner fold, a rectangular fold, then a third fold on the corner of the raised rectangular creating another Isosceles triangle.

The use of the flat white surface allows the viewer to concentrate on the folds and the resulting clean lines and shadows.

Susan Happersett

Jean-Luc Moulène at Miguel Abreu Gallery

The Miguel Abreu Gallery is currently presenting a group show titled “Mostly Early Works by Gallery Artists”. One of the works o display is an onyx sculpture from 2015 by Jean-Luc Moulène titled “Sample (Onyx)”
The sculpture is composed of five rounded cones. Two pointed in opposite directions to form an axis. The remaining three are jutting out perpendicularly to the axis.
The three cones around the axis are positioned at 120 degree intervals to create order 3 rotational symmetry. This symmetry is visible when  the work is viewed at a looking straight at the points of the axis.
Susan Happersett

Bridges Conference Stockholm, Sweden (Part 1)

This year the annual Bridges Math Art conference was held in Stockholm Sweden. Along with a busy program of lectures and workshops, the art exhibit is always a highlight of the event. There was so much interesting work on display that is hard to select just a few to write about in the blog. I encourage everyone to take a look at the on line gallery available on the Bridges website.
Martin Levin’s brass and aluminum sculture “Altogether II” was particularly fascinating to me because it includes all five of the platonic solids. By using thin rods as lines in 3-D space, Levin outlined the figures so you can see the shapes stacked inside each other. Platonic solids are comprised of faces that are regular polygons and at each vertex there are an equal number of faces meeting. The five Platonic are: Tetrahedrons with 3 equilateral triangular faces at each vertex, Cubes with 3 square faces at each vertex, Octahedrons with 4 equilateral triangle faces at each vertex, Dodecahedrons with 3 pentagons at each vertex and, Icosahedrons with 5 equilateral triangles meeting at each vertex. In Levin’s structure the shapes with triangular faces all share a common face plane, and the solids that have three shapes meeting at the vertices share common vertices.
“Triboid” is a resin sculpture by Alfred Peris that is a ruled surface, which means that on any point of the surface there is a straight line that lies on the curved surface. Peris generates these curved surfaces by taking a 2-D curve with no end points and then projects it into paraboloid of revolution to get a 3-D curve. The resulting sculpture has an elegant organic floral presence.
Susan Happersett

Charles Ginnever at Storm King

Storm King Arts Center is a world-renowned sculpture park located about a hour North of Manhattan near the Hudson River. The permanent collection of the park features a number of works with Mathematical themes. Charles Ginnever’s steel sculpture “Prospect Mountain Project ( For David Smith)” from 1979 is an excellent example.
The work is comprised of a giant parallelogram that has been sliced diagonally into three parallel strips that are also parallelograms. Each strip has been folded twice at vertical creases. They are connected at two points along the lines of the folds.
The two side sections have the steel bending forward and the center parallelogram has the folds towards the back. This not only gives the flat plane of the metal sheet a 3-dimensional presence, but it also allows the sculpture to stand securely directly on the ground. The weathered organic texture of the steel contrasts with the hard edges of the geometry. The sculpture complements the natural surroundings of the park.
Susan Happersett

Ricardo Cardenas at De Buck Gallery

The exhibition “Abstractions of Nature” at De Buck Gallery features Cardenas’ sculptures and wall installations. Created using a multitude of small, painted, stainless steel wires these works remind me of the practice of cross hatching, used when drawing. In a drawing an artist would use short almost straight lines to built a gradient of lines from light to to dark to form the illusion of depth and shadow. This would give a 2-D drawing the illusion of 3-D space.
Here is gallery view of “Yellow Nest” and “White Nest” both from 2018. Cardenas has built curved surfaces in 3-D space using only small lines of stainless steel.
This close up view of “Yellow Nest”  shows the intricate architecture  within each sculpture. Inspired by nature and educated as a civil engineer, Cardenas presents elegant constructions with  biomorphic sensibilities.
Susan Happersett

More Art from JMM – San Diego

There were so much interesting work on display at the JMM that I wanted to explore a few more.

Tom Bates – “Six Easy Pieces” – 30 x 28 x 25 cm -Bronze – 2010

Tom Bates’ cast bronze sculpture “Six Easy Pieces” is based on one of the Chen-Gackstatter minimal surfaces. Mathematical minimal surfaces are skin-like surfaces where the area is locally as small as possible. Quite often when minimal surfaces are represented as sculpture they are shown with a smooth surface. Bate’s bronze is unpolished and rough. I really like this more organic form. It adds an unexpected hand made feel to the work.

Elizabeth Whiteley -“Euclidean Arabesque 1”
41 x 51 cm – graphite + color pencil on archival paper – 2017

One of the exciting things about returning to the JMM show over a number of years is being able to see how artists’ work changes. This year Elizabeth Whiteley is showing elegant geometric drawings. These new renderings were produced using two circles with radii in a 1:0.75 ratio and arcs measuring 180 and 270 degrees. The drawing references Euclid’s Elements Book Three: proposition 12. The series of colored lines Whiteley has used to illustrate chords on the imaginary surface brings the form to life. The shape seems to float over the surface of the paper.
In case you are wondering what I brought to the JMM this year… I had one of my new lace drawings in the exhibit. “Syncopated Hexagons” features elements created on six axis (instead of four). These elements possess order 6 rotational symmetry.

Susan Happersett – Syncopated Hexagons
35 x 11 x 4 cm – Ink on paper – 2017

Susan Happersett

Ruth Asawa at David Zwirner Gallery

Ruth Asawa studied at the Mountain College, and in the late 1940’s began making crocheted wire sculptures. This solo exhibition at at David Zwirner features a large collection of these hanging forms.

Almost all of the structures feature a vertical line of symmetry. No matter your vantage point in the gallery the reflective symmetry is visible.

This sculpture is referred to in the catalog as “Untitled, 1954, Hanging, Seven-lobed Continuous, Interwoven Form, with Spheres with in Two Lobes”. It shows another element of Asawa’s work: the interior and exterior forms change positions. They seem to flow through each other.
This phenomenon questions our preconceived ideas about the rules for inside and outside in a 3-D geometric shape.

Susan Happersett

TWINKLE IN THE EYE – A group show at Pablo’s Birthday Gallery

The current exhibit at the Pablo’s Birthday Gallery on the Lower East Side features a number of works with interesting geometric themes.

Henrik Eiben – Minnesota – Steel
Picture courtesy of the gallery

Henrik Eiben’s steel wall construction, titled “Minnesota” is built from a collection of isosceles right triangles. Joining two congruent triangles along their legs (sides that form the right angle) results in parallelograms. Adding a third triangle, a trapezoid is formed. The steel sections have been hinged together with leather and some of the triangles that make up this open frame are angled off the wall. This gives the work a more 3-D presence, with the breaking off the flat wall pale into the gallery space.

Karsten Konrad – VW – Mixed media
Picture courtesy of the gallery

“VW”  is a mixed media octagonal mosaic by Karsten Konrad. The walls of the sculpture are created using a series of parallel strips creating a series of tight concentric octagons. This is in contrast to the multicolored parallel strips in the patchwork of diagonals that make up the central image.
Susan Happersett

Holger Hadrich – by Sarah Stengle

Holger Hadrich makes complex, collapsible geometric structures out of steel wire, and then photographs them in a way that dissolves the pure determination of the geometry into a feeling of a fleeting memory. The context chosen is often an ordinary place that implies motion, or transition. Sidewalks, asphalt and rivers recur with the superimposition of a delicate geometric structure.

17-08-01These objects rarely obscure their backdrop but rather hover like an apparition. One can see right through them, as one could see through a ghost. In his hands, the timeless geometry of the Archimedean solids are presented as movable objects that we pass by in a fleeting world. The context for his creations underscore the idea of passage and form a sequence of ordinary by-ways transformed by an ongoing internal conversation with mathematical form.

17-08-02The objects themselves are based on polyhedra, which are usually conceived of as solid. In his hands, however, they are rendered flexible and collapsible. Their web-like delicacy show precision and immense patience. One can almost imagine the object being turned in hand as careful attention is paid to the vertices. In many cases they are punctuated by small brass washers or carefully formed loops, which form a secured but collapsible hub. A different aspect of the work is made apparent when the objects are held in the hands. They are designed to be collapsible. Many are collapsible along more than one axis. To understand the collapsibility of his constructs it is best to handle them or see them in motion. His video Medusa Tower below shows one of his structures expanding from a depth of about three inches to nearly five meters.

Art historians from Vasari to Wöfflin have debated the supremacy of linear versus painter pictorial devices in art.  These works are both simultaneously linear and painterly (malerisch). The absolute clarity of the mathematic constructs is intentionally obscured to become integral to the partially dissolved, or transient clarity of the object as photographed.  These linear forms become painterly through Hadrich’s lens. The geometric forms are pulled out of the originating mathematical abstractions and into our ordinary life, where they seem to hover on the brink of collapsing and disappearing.

17-08-03To quote Wölfflin: “Composition, light and color no longer merely serve to define the form, but have their own life absolute clarity has been partly abandoned to enhance the effect.” The resolutely normal sidewalks and fragments of asphalt are also transformed when viewed through the orderly but complex web of geometric construction of wire. One immediately intuits a precise order that stands against our own transience and feels patient, quiet and timeless.
You can find more about Hadrich’s work on his Facebook page.

This is Sarah Stengle’s first contribution to this blog. Sarah is an artist and writer based in St Paul, Minnesota.