Winkleman Gallery is very pleased to present PLOT, our first solo exhibition by Scottish-born New York artist Rory Donaldson. Stemming from Donaldson’s body of installation and project-based work, much of it dealing with cultural identity and assimilation (and the complex processes of mutation associated with where they intersect), the new works in his ongoing series, titled “SQCITY,” take as their subjects symbols of movement, transition, and passage.
Through a digital process that stretches out the original photograph’s four corners, Donaldson finds unexpected beauty in the graffiti-tagged metal doors and traffic-clogged streets of New York City and other major cities. The central image of each piece (doors, subway platforms, intersections, etc.) is identifiable only upon close inspection. What greets the viewer from a distance looks to be large blocks of solid color, referencing perhaps color field painting. Stripes of pure color (the ubiquitous blues, yellow, grays and reds of city lights and architecture) streak out to the edges of the works. Moreover, the center images often offer complex studies of depth, perspective, and light, highlighting the extraordinary dialog between photography and painting that these works reveal.
In the main installation of the exhibition, Donaldson presents a major new work featuring 35 photographs in a grid that suggest the regular block pattern of New York City Streets. In this case, that’s appropriate because each of the images is actually taken from the intersection of where a street crosses an avenue in Manhattan between 18th and 22nd Streets and 3rd to 8th Avenues. The resulting network serves to highlight another element of Donaldson’s project in that the way the streaking colors of each piece communicate with those in their adjacent pieces begins to form a complex Tartan pattern, a motif Donaldson has used to great effect in his cultural identity projects for many years.