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“Dancing with Benoit”, Paintings and Prints by Fred Gutzeit

Conde Nast Building, Lobby
4 Times Square, 212-925-8126
August 25 - October 7, 2011
Reception: Thursday, September 15, 6 - 8 PM

This exhibition in the lobby of the Conde Nast Building, was curated by Lanny Powers. The 18 pieces in the show are a selection of 10 years of the artist’s recent work. These paintings and prints took their starting point from a place in the Catskills: Otter Falls. From the ripples and play of water on rocks and tree roots, come undulating patterns. The rhythmic unfolding of shapes in these works has a feeling of the forms generated by Benoit Mandelbrot’s Fractal Geometry.

In the late 1980’s Gutzeit was teaching painting at Pratt Manhattan and also began taking courses in computer graphics there. At the time he read James Gleick’s “Chaos, Making a New Science”, which included an introduction to “Fractals”. He didn’t incorporate any of this into his artwork at the time. In 2000, he finished the last of the representational work from nature (the last of which is on display in the lobby of the Rodale building at 46th street and Third Avenue). In 2001, he did three brush and ink drawings (two are currently at the Rodale building at 46th street and Third Avenue). These drawings were an effort to distill the experience of working directly from nature in the earlier work. One way was through line in black and white – here to try to make black ink read as color. Another way was to translate the textures of nature into patterns.

After coming across another book on science: “The Quantum Self”, by Dana Zohar, Gutzeit became interested in ideas in particle physics. This led to using a form that appears in the paintings and prints in this show: a Calabi-Yau Manifold. His fascination with this math form comes from it’s seeming to embody the work of Arshile Gorky. Actually, in his artwork, Gutzeit is the love child of Bridgette Riley and Arshile Gorky. Another artist refered to in the Conde Nast show is Lee Lozano. The print: “LeeWaves-Bin”, is a mirroring of her series of “wave paintings”, which were shown in the Whitney Museum in 1971.

The work in the Conde Nast show is a play between math and art. The math is represented most here in digitizing of sketchbook drawings and their being transformed with a computer, printed out, drawn into again – redigitized, reworked and finally printed onto paper – to be painted over on canvas. The digital prints in the show are another aspect of transformation: and are like snapshots of the progress of an idea.
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