Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery is pleased to bring together the work of Alex Hubbard, Marilyn Lerner, Stephen Mueller, Cordy Ryman, Keith Sonnier, and Andrzej Zielinski in Organic Geometry, running from December 12 until January 10, with an opening reception on Friday, December 12, from 6 – 8 p.m.
Between a pure abstraction, where color, line, form, and texture are tantamount, and the Neo-Geo puns on these unadulterated goals lies an evenhanded approach to image-making in which artists play both with the repetition of gesture and with inert geometric idioms so that the work takes on a life outside of formalism. Moving beyond color and form, this exhibition presents a select group of contemporary artists who use geometric and organic forms in non-illusionistic space to create nonobjective, affecting compositions that are layered with pleasure, speculation, and meaning.
Marilyn Lerner and Stephen Mueller’s canvases vibrate with technicolor and share a proclivity toward skewed planes and crossings grids. Frustrating credible readings of volume and depth, repeating lines resemble targets, crosses, and other logo-like symbols in Lerner’s ordered compositions while Mueller’s denser notes, fraught with shifts between focus and fuzz, whimsically explore figure-ground relationships.
Alex Hubbard and Andrzej Zielinski reverberate off singular hues: colors lurk beneath stippled and sticky monotone surfaces, boldly pushing and breaking through. Where Hubbard’s paintings layer and transform the traces of action into a not-quite-pure visual language, Zielinski’s densely built-up compositions use a painterly vocabulary inspired by mundane electronic machines to destabilize the viewer, toying with actual and perceived space.
Bridging painterly explorations with the third dimension are Keith Sonnier and Cordy Ryman. As one of the first artists working in light sculpture in the 60s, Sonnier has extensively explored the potential of neon’s arcing colors and curves. New ceiling works extend abstraction into space: boundless volumes of color and shadow are anchored by the formal materiality of cords, wires and luminous tubes. Echoing this extension of the picture plane are Cordy Ryman’s site-specific structures, in which the painted surface catalyze shifting sculptural relationships of wooden shapes, engaging at once the optical and the tactile.
As positioned together the works in the show prove Holland Cotter’s take on abstraction to be enduringly true: abstract art “offers new modes of visual pleasure; it embodies speculative thought in concrete form; and, utopian to the core, it rests on the faith that audiences will follow its radical path.”