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Clytie Alexander, Diaphans

Betty Cuningham Gallery
541 West 25th Street, 212 242 2772
February 5 - March 14, 2009
Reception: Thursday, February 5, 6 - 8 PM
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Betty Cuningham Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of the work of Clytie Alexander. It is Alexander’s first show at the gallery, located at 541 W. 25 Street between 10 and 11 Avenues.

The exhibition will be a comprehensive view of Alexander’s recent work, including approximately sixteen Diaphans and five drawings. Alexander’s Diaphans are painted, rectangular, perforated aluminum sheets which hang 4 inches in front of the wall, seemingly floating or hovering in an aura or reflected light. While spending time in India, she encountered pierced stone screens and her fascination with “permeable boundaries” has continued since then. Her work is not only focused on the surface plane but also on the relationship between the piece and the space around it. [The title “Diaphan”, which Alexander assigns to this series, comes from the Latin word “diaphanous”, meaning “to show through”.]

To create the Diaphans, the artist employs a technical process to punch holes through the surface of the paper-thin aluminum sheet.  They are installed with two rods, positioning them away from the wall, allowing light to travel through the holes.  The placement of holes coupled with the various colors on either side create an experience of light and color without boundaries.  Each Diaphan has a unique arrangement of perforations while sharing a general resemblance with the entire series.  Some variations among the Diaphans are subtle, others more recognizable, thereby creating a series that is both still and in motion.

“My system for determining the distribution of the holes is controlled chance – the ‘control’ being me and my ‘rules for fabrication’ and the ‘chance’ being the fabrication technician’s interpretation of my ‘rules’ and ‘parameters’.”

In this exhibition, ten white Diaphans line the main gallery, each measuring 48×34 inches. As the light passes through the perforations the subtle changes reveal themselves. In the front gallery, on view are Alexander’s works on paper, juxtaposed alongside color Diaphans. By using translucent paper, Alexander explores similar ideas as she does in the Diaphans; light travels through the glassine, similar to the role of light traveling through the punctured aluminum.

Clytie Alexander has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and grants, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symonds Art Purchase Award, 2003 and 2007; the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, 2005; the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, 1993 and 2001; and the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Grant, 1998.

A native of Lawrence, Kansas, Clytie Alexander spent time in Canada and Bangladesh and studied art at UCLA. Her work can be seen in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; the Christian Keesee Collection, Oklahoma City, OK; and the Swiss Institute, New York, NY. She currently lives and works in New York and Los Angeles.
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