Saturday, June 11, 2016

at the edge, Ille Arts

Minimalist Drawings + Paintings


A stunning show of sculpture and early minimalist works sprawls across Sara De Luca's new gallery space at Ille Arts in Amagansett. A must see, this is the final weekend of an exhibit that sheds light on the late artist Dan Christensen (1942 - 2007) and the poetics of Elaine Grove, whose inventive sculpture anchors the room with a protean energy. A near perfect union of Grove's collage motifs and Christensen's early Bar Paintings, the show allows both artists, married for 28 years, to shine. 

Elaine Grove, Relax, 1998, welded steel

Grove's sculpture moves from lively constructivist notions to gestural drawings in space. Three sculptures in the center of the gallery lay across white pedestals, their assembled steel parts burnished to pitch black. Severe and elegiac, the works invoke discarded armaments, conjuring metaphors both biblical and from Greek mythology.

Food Chain, 1991, cast and welded steel and iron

In the window, Grove's Food Chain, 1991, cuts a swath between the positive and the negative as it slices into ambient space. Animated, gestural and captivating, the work establishes a pictorial motif in which found objects traverse the circumference of a meandering steel line. Balanced on a horizontal bar, the enclosed elements create a narrative of whimsical, gesticulating component parts. 

Repose, 1998, welded steel and cast iron

A sublime installation of little known works by Dan Christensen exposes the reductive side of an artist celebrated for pioneering works that helped shape post-war American art. Christensen was always acutely aware of the surface, often creating paintings on unstretched canvas with the unlikely use of spray guns, squeegees, masonry trowels and turkey basters. 

Untitled, 1966, acrylic on masonite

Breaking ranks with the traditions of high abstraction, Christensen's artistic evolution begins here in algorithmic sequences that lay so close to the painterly surface they possess an almost textile-like quality. Meticulous and resolute, the works possess the sort of casual authority that lays claim to an image field that seems to expand without end.

The works, dating from 1966 to 1968, expose the early thinking of an artist whose metamorphosis in Color Field painting and lyrical abstraction would expand the possibilities of painterly abstraction.

12 Studies for Bar Paintings, 1966, pencil, ink, tape, gouache on ledger paper 

In selected studies, Christensen, who is represented in New York by Berry Campbell Gallery, reveals the essential plug-ins of this early work. Using minimal means -- pencil, marker, gouache and tape on graph paper -- these idiomatic musings offer a glimpse into a rich and varied oeuvre marked by discovery, tenacity and brilliance.

Untitled, 1966, acrylic on Masonite

Study for Bar Painting, 1966

Hard Time, 2015, wood and steel

Final chance to see this wonderful show -- open through June 15th.

Ille Arts

171 Main Street
Amagansett, NY