Anthony McCall’s Solid Light Works
February 20, 2018
The thrill of Anthony McCall’s elusive work is that it enables us to experience a continuous series of seemingly two-dimensional graphic designs while at the same time participating in what seem to be multidimensional solid constructions composed of light and air. And, as we engage with both, we can watch them being made while feeling we are composing them ourselves. The effect can improbably be like walking through Richard Serra’s opaque structures in which we experience vertigo as we follow the path of tilting, sinuous walls trying to figure out how to adapt to the condition, feeling unmoored but exhilarated never knowing where we are.
There is a double-performative aspect to McCall’s work—the light as it takes shape acting on McCall’s behalf and the projection as we view it requiring our participation to understand it. We feel as if we are captives in an ever-changing alternative, universe—albeit a tidy, graphic one with the illusion that the artist’s drawn line shapes and controls it.
McCall takes us into the seductive realm of the nonmaterial where we are led to speculate on such matters as cosmological order and the nature and origins of creation. But the fact is, the work is founded on strict mathematical and geometric principles, which for many viewers may be intellectually unfathomable, but which is ultimately beside the point, since it is really magic that orchestrates our experience as we wade through light like water and consider how to reach the moon and push clouds out of the way.
Anthony McCall’s Solid Light Works is showing at Pioneer Works (Redhook, Brooklyn) from January 12 to March 11, 2018.
November 24, 2017
Gesture held at bay by stillness is what we see in Nancy Haynes’s stunningly executed paint poem. Agitated brushiness around the edges frames and threatens to invade the dark deeply shadowed field of gorgeous indefinable color at the canvases’ center.
In a series of eloquent paintings dedicated to poets, this image stands as a nuanced tribute to the rhythm and intellect of Haynes’s subject, the eminent poet Susan Howe.
Here is a platform where the painter’s and the poet’s words and thoughts converge. Placidity and painterliness, mood and mode swings, emotions and intellect intersect.
Nancy Haynes: paintings: to the poets at Galerie Hubert Winter from October 20 to November 18, 2017
October 20, 2017
What conceptual/minimalist/process artist Russell Maltz does is let us experience his means and method of production. He picks up stray industrial and building materials and provides us with the tools for looking at his work. He shows where ideas might be stored and wait to be assembled. By stacking or layering or randomly scattering the pieces, he allows the materials’ inherent properties to create their own relationships and associations. Here, for example, a peg-board panel gives its accompanying suspended strips of wood an unexpected attitude, even playfulness. The parts may be arranged and rearranged to integrate with one another and with the architecture or landscape of their surroundings.
In the case of these “needle” sculptures, Maltz shows the structures in between parts—giving that space a shape and substance of its own. It’s as if he cut out the zips in a Barnet Newman painting and made them solid. They penetrate empty space.
But Maltz is also a painter, and he asserts himself with striking off-key, neon colors that leap out like signals--traffic lights, for example--conveying directions for looking and advising when and where to pause to consider, connect, disassemble, and reconnect parts. Maltz is building nothing—or everything.
Russell Maltz: Painted / Stacked / Suspended at MINUS SPACE from September 9 to October 28, 2017.
S.P._B.Y.W #117 (Needle)
Enamel and acrylic on wood
126 x 4.25 x 7 in
Courtesy of MINUS SPACE, Brooklyn
October 5, 2017
Wardell Milan’s image exemplifies the way an artwork can entice by being simultaneously straightforward and strangely elusive. We are drawn into the mystery of the drawing’s incompleteness and disarming psychological complexity, from the figure’s pockets of musculature up through the sharpness of its facial features . The floor is a vertiginous pattern of tiles that help establish a sense of imbalance. Ultimately, this masterful pastiche of line and gesture collaged together by ample space to serve as glue and invitation to engage is an elegant testimony to the power of art and suggestion.
graphite, charcoal, oil pastel, pastel, gesso, cut-and-pasted paper on paper
60 x 44 in
Courtesy of David Nolan Gallery, New York