James Cohan Gallery is pleased to present the gallery's fourth solo exhibition by California-based artist Ingrid Calame. This exhibition of new work entitled Swing Shift opens on September 10th and runs through October 9, 2010.
The paintings and the large-scale wall drawing on view mark a significant shift in Calame's use of medium and imagery. Ingrid Calame developed this new body of work during an artist residency at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY in 2009 where she made tracings from the shipping dock floors of a former Bethlehem Steel Plant in Buffalo, NY, amongst other locations. She was attracted to the inventory numbers that were hand-stencilled on the factory floors for their low-tech, utilitarian efficiency. Used for locating rolls of steel by the overhead crane for shipment, these eroded numbers embody displacement and erasure in function as well as form. The exhibition consists of oil on aluminium panel paintings, six of which measure 24 x 40 inches, and one that is 36 x 72 inches.
Installed in Gallery One is a 14 x 20 foot wall drawing, Perry Street Projects Wading Pool, Buffalo, NY that documents an intricate web of fissures and chipped paint traced from an abandoned, gigantic, octagonal wading pool in a city-sponsored housing project located in Buffalo, NY. The drawing is made with powdered-pigment pounce transferred in one-to-one scale directly onto the wall.
Throughout her career, Ingrid Calame generates ideas for her paintings through a close examination of the world around her, using detritus left by people in passing as her source material. She focuses her gaze on the lowly and left-over—stains on a sidewalk, graffiti on a river bank, skid marks of a car tire on a roadway. In tracing the shape of these discarded marks and combining them by overlaying one set of drawings with another, Calame uses this representational, and yet not necessarily recognizable information to generate abstractions. She thinks of this process as a "representation of loss" and thus her paintings are in some ways history paintings of the forgotten and overlooked. However this systematic process is just one aspect of the development of the paintings and drawings. Calame uses the documentary information from the tracings as a stepping off point or scaffolding in the creation of formal compositions that engage with layering and fragmentation while letting the oil paint soften the movement from line to shape. The result of this rigorous conceptual methodology that underpins the compositions is a freedom to play, particularly with color, as evidenced in the riotous explosions and challenging combinations found in Calame's paintings.
Calame has been the subject of numerous important solo exhibitions worldwide. Upcoming this fall 2010, Calame will have a solo exhibition at the Monterey Museum of Art, Monterey, CA. Past exhibitions include: 2009, Step on a Crack, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; 2007, Ingrid Calame: Traces of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Forefront Series, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN; 2006, Ramp Project: Ingrid Calame, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA.
Calame's paintings and drawings are included in many prominent international collections including Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; Indianapolis Museum of Art; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Museum of Fine Art, Houston; Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; Museum of Modern Art, NY; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland and private collections including Maramotti Collection, Italy; Goetz Collection, Munich; and Jumex Collection, Mexico.