James Cohan Gallery Shanghai is pleased to present an exhibition featuring drawings by Ingrid Calame and collages by Mark Strand. The exhibition opens on Saturday, November 24, 2012, and continues through January 24, 2013.
The exhibition‟s premise centers on abstraction and process by two artists who share distinctive but contrasting positions or guiding principles in which to create their works. Throughout her career, Ingrid Calame has generated images for her drawings and painting through a close examination of the world around her, using as her source material the detritus left by people in passing. She focuses on common stains found on sidewalks, or graffiti along a river bank, or skid marks of a car tire along a roadway. In tracing theses random marks, and combining them by overlaying one set of drawings with another, Calame uses this „representational‟—and yet not readily recognizable—information to generate abstractions. This documentary information of Calame‟s stain-tracings becomes a stepping off point in the creation of formal compositions that engage the movement from line to shape, layering, and fragmentation. Her rigorous conceptual methodology results in complex and densely contoured compositions advancing toward a freedom to play, particularly with Calame‟s use of color. The drawings in this exhibition include works
from several of the artist‟s key projects, including “Tracings up to the L.A. River placed in the Clark Telescope Dome, Lowell Observatory, Flagstaff, Arizona”, “Traces of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and exhibited at the museum in 2008), and more recent drawings generated at a former Bethlehem Steel Plant in Buffalo, New York, and surrounding locations, during an artist residency at the Albright Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY in 2009. Calame has often referred to her process as a „representation of loss‟ and thus her drawings and paintings are in some ways a history or „micro-histories‟ of the forgotten and overlooked.
Mark Strand, the internationally acclaimed and widely admired American poet, studied with Josef Albers and Bernard Chaet at Yale University‟s School of Architecture and Design during the late 1950s. Albers‟ work as an artist and educator, both in Europe and in the United States, formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century. Some of Mark Strand‟s early works appear in both Chaet‟s The Art of Drawing and in Albers‟ seminal book The Interaction of Color. Strand‟s lifelong interest in visual art continues, making prints on occasion and paintings, while also publishing books of poetry, essays, and art criticism. During the past year, splitting his time between New York and Madrid, Strand started making a series of abstract collages using hand-made and hand-colored papers. According to Sue Gosin, a master papermaker at Dieu Donné studios in New York, who collaborated closely with Strand, the papers are a blend of 100% linen rag pulp and Abaca pulp (derived from a plant fiber commonly found in the Philippines from the banana family) that Strand uses as a base or medium for a pulp paint. He mixes colors using pigments which he then adds to the paper pulp. During each session in the studio Strand creates a fresh batch of ten to fifteen colors. While working with Gosin they make the sheets of paper that Strand uses while still wet as his surface or „canvas‟ for painting with the colored pulp. The colored liquid pulp is sometimes applied using a brush or directly by hand, or sometimes from small squirt bottles, which is why the finished collages have a feeling of immediate vitality, as Gosin has stated, combining an exquisite balance of dynamic color and contemplative lyricism. When the paper has dried Strand then tears or cuts the paper to create the collages which are mounted to sheets of matte board with broad borders, leaving ample white space around each composition. While modest in scale each collage commands our attention. Ranging from 5 x 7 (12.7 x 17.78 cm) and 7 x 7 (17.78 x 17.78 cm) inches, we are drawn into them immediately like intimate, personal windows through which we experience a fusion of color and shape, surface and transparency. Seemingly spontaneous, even casual, each coalesce as precise and singular compositions. A book of Mark Strand‟s collages is scheduled to be published by Vif Editions, Paris in the coming year. An interview with the artist that will appear in this volume is also included in our illustrated brochure on the occasion of this exhibition.