Callicoon Fine Arts is very pleased to present a three-person exhibition that includes new works by Sadie Benning, Thomas Kovachevich and Dona Nelson. While all three artists are painters, their practices are informed by sculpture, performance, music and other time-based mediums. The three artworks that make up the exhibition articulate the experience of time as tied to perception, the individual conceptions of which ring strikingly dissonant between pieces.
In Sadie Benning’s artwork, of a new formal type exhibited here for the first time, a triptych of box-like sculptural reliefs recall minimalist forms but take on a metaphoric and relational dimension. They are painted white with other underlying colors that produce subtle variations in tone. Large cuts in the boxes reference grooves, such as those within the track of a vinyl record, a medium with which Benning often relies for music distribution. While a sense of time embedded in a record is invoked by the forms, another sense of time is marked out by the grooves as they assume different proportions from one box to the next.
In the artwork by Thomas Kovachevich, time is experienced as an extended duration. The result of recent experiments with metallic origami paper, squares of the paper are placed on a “stage” and assume different shapes, curling and uncurling, in response to changes in the atmosphere of the exhibition space. The movements of the individual paper “characters” of the performance exist on the cusp of what can be and cannot be perceived. The title of the work points to that liminal place: “Limen: A Performance in 870 Hours”; and the duration of the performance equals the duration of the exhibition.
Dona Nelson’s “Runningonstring”, is a 2-sided painting that hangs from the ceiling. The quickening of time is implied by the title of a painting whose surface is literally run around with string. Saturated green paint-covered string whirrs about the canvas, generating a visual velocity, within the primarily blue-hued surface. The process with which Nelson applies the base texture further intones a sense of duration, as the acrylic medium seeps through to the back of the work, which, exhibited through an armature hanging from the ceiling, allows both sides of the artwork to be offered on display.
Sadie Benning gained renown in the early 1990s for videos made with a Fisher Price pixel-vision camera as a queer teenager living in Milwaukee. Those works helped define discourses around identity and art at the time (both within important movements in identity politics and the New Queer Cinema) and can be found in museum collections internationally, also finding air time on MTV and other popular platforms. She seamlessly transitioned to music and was a founding member of the feminist post-punk band Le Tigre. Benning’s work has increasingly expanded, incorporating painting, sculpture, drawing, installation and sound. Recent solo exhibitions of her work have taken place at Participant, INC, NY, the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH; Orchard Gallery, NY; Dia: Chelsea, NY and The Power Plant, Toronto.
Thomas Kovachevich has had solo exhibitions in museums and galleries in the US and Europe including The Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Albert and Vera List Center at MIT, and the Centre de la Vieille Charité, Musees de Marseille. His works have also been included in numerous group shows such as at the Museum of Modern Art, Documenta 5, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Detroit Institute of Art, Musee d'art et d'histoire, Geneva, the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland, as well as in many galleries. This month his work is included in “Selections from the Grunwald Center and The Hammer Contemporary Collection” at The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
Dona Nelson is widely regarded as one of the most vital, intellectually considered, aggressively tactile and physically inventive American painters of her generation. Solo exhibitions of her work have taken place at The Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Greensboro, NC, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, PA, at Cheim and Read, NY, and most recently at Thomas Erben Gallery, NY, the gallery that represents her.