The current exhibition in the North gallery room of the Klein Sun Gallery is called “The Simple Line”. The show features the work of Beijing artist Gao Rong. Each of Gao Rong’s installation pieces is based on a circular hoop framework. Threads are stretched across the circle from evenly placed locations around the circumference. Although the basis of her subject matter is circular, through careful placement of the threads Gao Rong is able to create geometric arrangements featuring straight lines and angles.
This work contains a square grid of nine squares with the center square darkened with the overlapping of many lines of thread. this work at first appears to have two axis of reflection symmetry but this is only superficial. Upon closer inspection we see that some of the corners of the of the squares are much darker than others and taking that into consideration there is an order-2 rotational symmetry.
The next work is based on triangles. Starting at the bottom with single unit isosceles triangle, then moving up the structure, this single unit is overlapped by a triangle with a base twice as long. The next overlapping triangle has a base three times the length of the initial triangle Each subsequent triangle gets larger but also lighter in color. The shape seems to fade into the top of the circular frame.
There are two sets of theoretical juxtapositions in Gao Rong’s work. First and most is obviously the fact that the work illustrates linear structures within a curvilinear environment. Second, there is also the social statement of the use of colored thread, traditionally seen in women’s decorative needle work, to create very structured geometric diagrams that are heavily influenced by Mathematics.
The Umbrella Arts Gallery in the East Village is presenting a show titled “Off the Grid”, which features work that is created using a grid formation, or is displayed in a grid presentation. Audrey Stone works with thread to produce fine line patterns. Her work in this exhibition offers elegant representations of squares and grids.
The thread drawing on paper “blue X” comprises of an 8 by 8 square grid. Each square has thirteen line segments radiating from one of its corners to points on the opposite sides of the square. The drawing has four-fold rotational symmetry. To achieve this symmetry, the artist has chosen from which corner of each grid square the line segments radiate. In the squares located in the upper left quarter of the drawing, the lower right corner is the point of where all thirteen line segments meet. In the upper right quarter of the work the lower left corner of each grid square is the radiating point. The lower left quarter of the drawing has the line segments all go to the upper right corner. And finally in the lower right quarter, the line segments radiate from the upper left corner.
“The Lion and the Lamb” is a sewn painting, created with thread and paint on stretched linen. This work is more directly related to squares and the parallel lines of concentric squares. The top half of the piece shows half of a series of cencentric sqaures and uses paint. The form at the bottom of the canvas shows a series of complete concentric squares and is is sewn with thread onto the canvas.
Stone’s use of thread to create the lines in her drawings relates to traditional women’s needle work, but her subject matter is based in mathematical geometry.
“Off the grid” is on display at Umbrella Arts, 317 east 9th St until February 28. It is definitely worth a trip to the East Village.