“A Romance of Many Dimensions” Curated by Brent Hallard
The title of the show comes from... Edwin A. Abbott’s Flatland – A Romance of Many Dimensions, who dedicates the book...
To The Inhabitants of SPACE IN GENERAL And H. C. IN PARTICULAR This Work is Dedicated
By a Humble Native of Flatland
In the Hope that
Even as he was Initiated into the Mysteries
Of THREE Dimensions
Having been previously conversant
With ONLY TWO
So the Citizens of that Celestial Region
May aspire yet higher and higher
To the Secrets of FOUR FIVE OR EVEN SIX Dimensions
To the Enlargement of THE IMAGINATION
And the possible Development
Of that most rare and excellent Gift of MODESTY
Among the Superior Races
Of SOLID HUMANITY
What better sentiments come to mind than this to suggest the tenets of a reductive visual practice... the enlargement of the imagination, the development of that rare and excellent gift of modesty?
Like the novella, the paintings in “A Romance...” do not provide an axiom for the existence of higher dimensions into other worlds. That’s something a mathematician or physicist might be able to do better. Rather, the works in this exhibition attend to the flat – surfaces, shapes and color – as if in defiance of the existence of the dimensional world that they inhabit.
The experience of a painting, noting that the term painting here can be applied rather loosely, is primarily phenomenological. Yet just as a line or shape can suggest an aspect of the recognizable as a response to the world around us, shapes also go on to form recognizable things, and, as such link the three-dimensional experience of supports and canvases as they protrude from the wall.
While early abstraction had its interest in non-Euclidian geometry, the fourth dimension and the idea of time and motion as a perceived illusion, artists such Mondrian and Malevich clearly worked with the phenomenal world that they were in. Their mature paintings generally had a top and a bottom, not of sky and sea, but in correspondence to the way the body responds to the environment. And if some of this early experimentation appears to be gravity free, on closer inspection it becomes clear that a bodily response to gravity is there expressed through a modesty of means.
The artists in the show all work with visual dialects, understanding that line is connected to form, that object is connected to color and line, that our participation informs and blends all this, and the relationships formed hereafter are very much about our connectivity, be-coming aware of another sensual realm that may have no physical location. It is here that the artist romances, bringing together relationships, for the viewer to experience and wonder about.