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Richard Nonas, Cowboy Coffee

Esso Gallery
531 West 26th Street, 212-560-9728
September 26 - November 15, 2008
Reception: Friday, September 26, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Jennifer Bacon and Filippo Fossati are pleased to announce the opening of the gallery’s first solo exhibition by Richard Nonas on Friday, September 26, 2008

Richard Nonas is the artist as explorer; the artist who risks travel on a non-existent geographic map that he himself has drawn. Born in 1936, he began to construct his sculptures in the middle 1960s after a ten year career in anthropology which included years of fieldwork with American Indians both in Northern Mexico/Southern Arizona and in Northern Canada. — Writing about his work there, Nonas says he found words too specific to directly convey the shifting and ambiguous complexity he sensed; writing itself seemed too shaped by grammar to communicate the immediate all-at-once doubleness of the reality that moved him. Yet he also noticed then that some of the physical objects surrounding him could indeed capture and hold that doubleness. —In their hard chaotic singularity, physical things could be made to embody a vibrating ambiguity of meaning and feeling, could even convert that ambiguity to an emotionally felt place, a bounded geographical site that then defined it.

Nonas has become the sculptor of those charged, object-made places. He is a sculptor of spatial material presence ??of combined simple elements that expand to become whole places. His work combines radical literalism with the shifting edge of not-quite-paradox. —The great Italian collector Count Giuseppe Panza di Biumo recently wrote that “Nonasis the most radical of the minimalist artists that I collected in the 60s and 70s. ..[He] has transformed [his] anthropological search for the primordial nature of human beings into his sculptures.” He is a sculptor of complexity in simplicity, of pervasive emotion in rough abstract physical form.

In cowboy coffee/new work, old ground at Esso Gallery, Nonas has used a set of nine new large wooden wall-sculptures —all based on the same rough and simple form— to define and connect four rooms each containing a steel floor sculpture from a different decade of his work. Nonas’ works are included in some of the most important public and private collections in the world. His contribution to contemporary sculpture is recognized globally.
Have photos of this show? Tag them with artcal-7928 to see them here.