"Form +" group show of Bay Area abstraction including Todd Bura, Léonie
Guyer, Prajakti Jayavant, Phil McGaughy, Evelyn Reyes, and Dean Smith
"Dhyana" contemporary anonymous Tantric drawings from Rajasthan
André Jamme: New Exercises"
|These three related exhibitions
explore form as vehicle for imaginative experience. The artists here use
form as a provocation to attention and as an armature for understanding.
Abstract as they are, these works are not simply self-referential but rather
allude to conditions and capacities of the mind.
The Tantric drawings shown here-which are from the collection
of poet Franck André Jamme-were made anonymously as an aid to meditative
practice. The forms and colors in these works are not unique but rather
highly conventional signs that have evolved for over a thousand years
both to signify and to stimulate specific mental and spiritual experiences.
Dhyana is a Sanskrit word for deep meditation and as such
could be used to describe not only this exhibition but the two concurrent
shows as well.
Franck André Jamme: New Exercises comprises a selection of small mirrors inscribed with short texts by one
of France's leading contemporary poets. The idiosyncratically unbroken
texts as well as the disorienting interaction of text and mirror in these
works stimulate the reader/viewer's mind, fostering a condition of unusual
concentration. Each text is a kind of philosophical instruction or "exercise";
like modern koans they exude qualities of impossibility, ephemeralness,
Form + presents works by six San Francisco
area artists whose work resonates with Jamme's mirror poems and with his
collection of Tantric drawings. Form, in these works, is only deceptively
the center of attention. Todd Bura's small paintings are inordinately
stimulating for works that provide so little in the way of imagery, color,
or texture. It is this very superabundance of sensation that is the real
subject of Bura's apparently minimal, formalistic works. Similarly, Léonie
Guyer's reductive drawings attend to shape as a kind of powerful reverse
explosion. Her quizzical forms gather the energy around them into a super-potent
visual moment. Dean Smith's drawings, although rigorously dependent
on pre-ordained rules of execution, overflow with visual and visceral
sensation. There is a compelling balance in his work between expansion
and condensation. A related dichotomy is evident in Phil McGaughy's sculptures which integrate geometrical construction with organic wood
forms. In contrast to his expansive constructed elements, McGaughy's found
driftwood and manzanita sticks accrue a powerful internalizing gravity.
Evelyn Reyes' series of abstracted carrots employs repetition and
a certain intensity of execution to suggest a Platonic vision of a common
garden vegetable. Within the similarity of her forms one finds engaging
differences. Prajakti Jayavant's painted paper constructions similarly
pose provocative questions about the limits of difference and our capacity
to frame experience meaningfully. On the verge of sheer materiality, her
works betray the barest echoes of formal intent, and thereby attune our
awareness to the wonder of artistic possibility.
Lawrence R. Rinder is the Dean of the College at
the California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Previously, he was
the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney
Museum of American Art. Prior to the Whitney, Rinder was founding director
of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, in San Francisco, and
served as Assistant Director and Curator for Twentieth-Century Art at
the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Among the many exhibitions
he organized at these institutions are "Searchlight: Consciousness
at the Millennium" (1999), "Knowledge of Higher Worlds: Rudolf
Steiner's Blackboard Drawings" (1997), "Louise Bourgeois: Drawings"
(1996), "In a Different Light" (1995) ""Felix Gonzalez-Torres"
(1994), and "Where There Is Where There: The Prints of John Cage"