Nyehaus is pleased to present Craig Kauffman: Wall Reliefs from the 1960s on view at the gallery from Thursday, April 30th to Saturday, June 20th, 2009. Craig Kauffman, a central card holding member of the Light and Space group imbedded in Southern California beginning in the mid 60s, like many of his counter parts (Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Larry Bell, Ken Price, and Richard Alexander to name a few), became disillusioned with the inherent powers of paint to make light, space and color in to material forms. This pilgrimage lead to ambitious experiments with industrial plastics and other translucent materials.
Kauffman’s path from his Abstract Expressionist roots of the late 50s lead him to forsake canvas and expressionistic brush work, to layer acrylic-painted biomorphic, sexually charged forms, on plexi-glass backgrounds. While these forms were reminiscent of his expressionistic imagery, it now became a simulation of expression, similar to, but pre-dating, strategies employed by Pop Artists Roy Lichtenstein’s Brush Stroke paintings from 1964 (fig.1). If the subliminal sexual references were ahhh…too subliminal, he did two drawings using Fredrick’s of Hollywood shoe advertisements as the background, broadcasting his notorious fetish for the foot.
Nyehaus’ exhibition of Kauffman’s Wall Reliefs from the 1960s brings together seven luscious works. Two ironically known as Hockey Sticks (fig.2), mark his transition out of his use of “drawing” of forms to a singular, albeit double layered, object. All were created by vacuuming plexi-glass over metal molds and then spray painting the interior with translucent acrylic paint. Kauffman did a series of twelve untitled Wall Reliefs in 1968 in shocking bursts of color. The three presented here in neon orange, sapphire blue (fig. 3) and emerald green respectively, engage in a ménage a trois for the first time. The two Bubbles (1968) in there morphing tones of grey and pink hover ethereally on the wall (fig.4).
Craig Kaufman was born in Los Angeles, California and has been exhibiting his paintings and wall relief sculptures since 1951. His work is included in major public and private collections as well as over 20 museum collections. Early in his career, he exhibited with the Ferus Gallery, which for a decade was the premier gallery in Los Angels for the exhibition of work not readily accepted by the public. Nyehaus is an exhibition space founded by devoted contemporary art collector and curator Tim Nye. In addition, Nyehaus commissions new works in order to expand and enliven the dialogue within an artist’s oeuvre. Located in the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, 8D, Nyehaus is open by appointment from Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, please visit www.nyehaus.com.