European Perspectives: The Radiant Lines
Zane Bennett Contemporary Art is pleased to announce an exhibition of European artists who focus on light, line and color. European Perspectives, The Radiant Line includes geometric compositions as well as neon and color planes that illuminate the landscape or color field. The opening is Friday, April 26th at the gallery, 435 South Guadalupe Street, across from the rail station, from 5:00‐7:00 pm to coincide with the Railyard Arts District Last Friday Art Walk.
François Morellet, France
Although we think of Agnes Martin as the purveyor of the grid in the American art world, François Morellet introduced his first grid‐based paintings in 1950. These works developed into “grillages,” steel grids overlaid on canvas. This geometric parameter has been the basis of his work since then and informs his more recent paintings 10 Hybrid Red and White Lines A, and Pi & Plis (yellow). A vertical and horizontal grid establishes the cube with intersecting lines, defining triangles, squares and various parallelograms highlighted in monochrome. His use of mathematical concepts establishes a reference point for understanding how his work creates an optical experience. In 2009, the Louvre Museum commissioned François Morellet to create new oculi windows for the interior Lefuel Staircase. In this permanent installation, Morellet superimposed the reversed design of the existing grid against the old outline of the oculus so that the old shape is contained within the new. He has extended this notion of the grid to his sculpture in neon, which gives the eye an electric jolt. With Lamentable, it is as if a portion of the grid was peeled directly off the painting 10 Hybrid Red and White Lines A, illuminated and then hung from a point in space, allowing the lines to form a new shape.
Olivier Mosset, Switzerland
Monochromatic painting has been a cornerstone of the avant‐garde since Kazimir Malevich, the Russian Supremacist, presented the first white on white painting in 1918 in Moscow. Just three years earlier, Malevich painted “Black Square on a White Field” which set the framework of geometric abstraction for the 20th Century. When another Russian, Alexandr Rodchenko, known as a Constructivist, exhibited three monochromatic paintings in 1921, each one in a primary color, he announced the death of painting. While this historical statement was dramatic, painting lives on and the monochromatic genre has grown to monumental proportions.
Olivier Mosset (Whitney Biennial, 2008) explores the monochrome idiom with his Over Easy diptych of an eggshell white square over a yoke yellow square which evokes his title directly. In his Untitled Sans (Without), tiny green squares resonate on a pink ground, eliciting a charged response. There are many interpretations of the monochrome: the painting as an object that represents nothing but itself or the painting as an infinite space filled with emotion that one can enter into. No matter how one interprets the monochrome, it is here to stay.
Gregoire Cheneau, France and Miquel Mont, Spain
Gregoire Cheneau’s argentic photo series of the Paris Metro give us an interior view of the subterranean world; in Metro # 2 the assemblage of people on the platform define the edge of a black and white space with a yellow and orange backdrop. A similar composition is created in Miquel Mont’s woodcut and lithograph II in which a soft black landscape is framed, so to speak, by blocks of color in yellow and orange. In both landscapes, the use of monochromatic rectangles offsets the black and the white foreground. One wonders whether the use of color is an emotional filter informing the viewer of what the landscape reveals.
Ruth Gschwendtner‐Wölfe, Austria
The numinous light that Ruth Gschwendtner‐Wölfe brings to her digital images makes us pause and ask “what am I looking at?” According to the artist, these are “found moments” that exist briefly and then are lost in time. Our minds attempt to organize and interpret the image yet in the blink of an eye we are transported to the unknown. Transforming perception is a theme which Gschwendtner‐Wölfe has pursued in her collaborative book, The Learning Eye, Contributions to visual literacy (Sehen ist Lernbar). The process of learning how to see and educating the eye and brain follows in the tradition of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, building from their scholarly approaches to understanding how we interpret objects and light. Whether we are seeing an object that is actual or an illusion created by light, we are left to wonder what is “real.”
Diana Blok, Holland and Pieter Bijwaard, Holland
Diana Blok’s collaborative effort with Pieter Bijwaard presents the viewer with two paired images in a single frame. The viewer is prompted to reflect on the meaning of the first photographic image by examining a second, constructed or painted image. This is similar to seeing both sides of the coin at once. Blok explains: “I feel that photography is a great paradox. When I make a portrait it is like saying: I AM/ YOU ARE and on the other side, on a mystical level, I am searching for I AM NOT – so it is as if through one way I find the other.” Between the two artists, there is a sense of shared mystery.
Tony Soulie, France
Known for his photo‐paintings based on large‐scale black and white photographs taken during his travels across the world, Tony Soulie states “I often look for specific famous places, trying to find the primitive spirit (the original core) in their architectural buildings of light.” This primitive spirit may reside in a building, place or geological form. In work from his most recent series that references the American landscape, the artist has taken a photo of a Chicago underpass below the Chicago ‘L,’ the second‐oldest rapid transit system in the Americas. He presents us with imagery that urges us to decipher the signs and ideograms of the place.