Head Over Hand:December 15 - January 28, 2006
The hand is the most intuitive and direct tool an artist has to make a mark on a surface. In most two-dimensional art, forms evolve through the direct marking of the surface – the hand is only slightly mediated by drawing implements. While pens, crayons, and brushes are indeed tools for mark making, they are direct extensions of the artist’s hand.
There is nothing necessarily deficient with the hand’s ability to carry out the mind’s artistic impulses, however, there is a tendency for gestures to become formulaic. The standardization of the gesture has been at least partially responsible for the decline of formal abstract painting. While many in the art world looked beyond the picture plane to find fresh artistic territory, others have been less willing to give up on painting.
The artists in Head Over Hand look beyond the conventionalized abstract mark, to art making procedures that employ basic natural processes and non-traditional tools to generate discrete, organized structures in paint.
Many of the structures in the show reflect forms in nature. Walter Biggs’ brushed graphite builds to mountain-like accretions on the painting’s surface. Roland Flexner captures the precise moment a bubble of ink bursts in his small experimental drawings. A simple but inscrutable process of layering and dragging acrylic paint reveals improbably illusionistic surfaces in Kurt Strahm’s paintings.
Each of the artists in the show demonstrates unique, innovative approaches to creating painterly order on a two-dimensional surface. How these paintings are made is as important as what they look like. Although the processes are obscure, subtleties on their surfaces indicate the nature of their creation – burns, drips, accretions, cracks, pools, etc.
Head Over Hand rethinks traditional approaches to painting, reexamines methods and applications, and, in the process, pushes paint to its limits.
There will be an opening reception for the artist Thursday, December 15, 6-8 PM