The Void is Not Empty
Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present The Void is Not Empty, an exhibition of new work by Jesse Chapman and David Scanavino. Installed in the gallery’s project space, the show will be on view from March 31- April 23.
Comprising four new paintings by Chapman and two sculptural works by Scanavino, The Void is Not Empty examines the uses and meanings of negative space from both philosophical and art historical perspectives. As a philosophical concept, “the void” generally prompts negative associations— it implies a lack of something desired and connotes desolation, loneliness, and disconnection. From an art historical point of view it brings to mind the Arte Povera movement and painters such as Lucio Fontana, whose perforated canvases, “let the infinite come through.” In their new works, the artists present their own ideas of emptiness, suggesting that it is a necessary counterpart to both existence and artistic representation.
In textured swaths of color that unfurl across the surface of his new paintings, Chapman creates deeply perspectival abstract compositions. At the center of each work a small rectangle that replicates the imagery and patterns of the overall piece appears, like a doorway, giving the sense that the painting opens out into a new dimension. This rectangular void-like opening in each composition also references and builds upon Chapman’s previous paintings of strings stretched across the “sound hole” of a guitar. Like the hollow space of the instrument, which generates sound through its emptiness, Chapman’s paintings similarly suggest that negative space can be productive, adding layers and depth. While the “sound hole” in a guitar allows notes to resonate within and flow outward, the window of repeated imagery in Chapman’s new pieces draws the viewer into the work, making him the occupant of its enigmatic and dream-like space.
Scanavino’s sculptures similarly involve the viewer. His plaster cast of a rope and composition of newspaper pulp invite investigation, and through conspicuous absence—the missing rope that made the impression, the hands that pressed the paper pulp—denote a former presence. By communicating the idea of “the void” through such physically solid objects, Scanavino poetically presents the coexistence of absence and presence.
Each work in the exhibition exists independently but they are all parts of a whole—dialoging with each other and with the viewer. As the site of this conversation, the space itself becomes an important element of the works, providing the context through which Chapman and Scanavino’s paintings and sculptures open up “the void” as both a formal and thematic motif.
Jesse Chapman lives and works in Hudson, New York. Recent exhibitions include, Curse of the Pharaohs, Saint Cecilia Convent, New York, NY, 2010 (group); New Mirrors, Exit Art, New York, NY, 2010 (group); Linkage: Artists Select Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit, 2009 (group); and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY, 2009 (solo); among others.
Living and working in New York City, David Scanavino will have a solo exhibition at Klaus Von Nichtssagend, New York, NY, opening April 17 and on view through May 22. Recent exhibitions include, Skins curated by Alex Gartenfeld, OHWOW, Miami, FL, 2010 (group); JO NIGOGHOSSIAN and DAVID SCANAVINO, West Street Gallery, New York, NY, 2010 (group); and Emerging Artist Fellowship Exhibition, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, 2010 (group); among others.