Having loaned work to P.S. 1 for "Greater New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art for the 2000 Biennial, The ICA's " Collectors Collect.." and having had a work featured on the cover of April's Art in America, Freed wanted to exhibit some larger and very new works close to home. The Gallery @ Green Street is extremely pleased to present work selected by Kenneth L. Freed, organized by Kanishka Raja and curated by James Hull to the widest audience possible and inspire Boston's vibrant arts community. - James Hull
Introduction by Kanishka Raja
Coming as it does from a single collection, much of the work in Imported! shares visual affinities that are representative of a singular vision. There are commonalities here that transcend ownership, however: many of the artists share an ongoing interest in occupying the blurring line between art and design, a few employ the computer as an active component of their studio practice and the aesthetics of Color Field painting and Op-Art -- the much maligned ( and suddenly resurgent) underbelly of Modernism, permeates a significant portion of this work.
Kevin Appel, who first came to prominence in Los Angeles with his large, computer-generated paintings of 50's style interiors, is currently producing a body of work that is less perspectively dazzling than its predecessors, but possess a cool maturity that is compelling in its ability to be many things at once. Increasingly, the new paintings straddle the line between abstraction and representation consistently upending one's perceptions: flat planes of color momentarily coalesce into drawers and knobs, only to fall apart into handsome abstract components.
Linda Besemer plays with formalist theories from a slightly different, more mischievous position: her abstract paintings are produced without any kind of support whatsoever. She dries and peels layers of acrylic paint in multicolored stripes and geometric designs that are then hung from walls and draped or folded over aluminum rods. The finished pieces -- strips of pure pigment -- become flexible objects, somewhere between painting and sculpture, that hang in the gallery like a glitzy kitchen towel. Besemer has slyly found a way to transform a quintessentially Op visual strategy -- the stripe painting -- into a whimsical, homegrown Pop object.
Jeff Elrod, a young, Texas-born, New York-based painter makes large abstractions based on doodles generated on the simplest of computer drawing programs which are then transferred to canvas with razor sharp precision. Their charged, super flat surfaces -- replete with knowing winks toward art history (here a Malevich, there an Ellsworth Kelly) -- are charming in their ability to evoke a seemingly archaic technological touch derived from a drawing program only a few years out of date. Elrod belongs among a growing number of abstract painters -- Monique Prieto is a prominent example -- who are employing the computer to generate images.
Arturo Herrera is the most recent acquisition and addition to the exhibit. This single sculpture, with a plastic laminate-like surface (created with urethane paint) appears to be another hard edged, abstract design at first glance. Gradually the haunches of an animated "Bambi" become recognizable , disguised by a severe truncation (only the back half remains) and rotation that renders this cheerful, familiar character foreign. The form, once deciphered, is irrepressible - the abstract composition is suppressed by a knowledge of the complete form - an interesting compositional insight into how we associate parts to the whole.
At 44, Los Angeles artist Jim Isermann is almost a father figure to the burgeoning group of artists traversing the line between art and design. Since the mid-80's. Isermann has been filling his shows with decal-like flower paintings, Op-ish mobiles and functional clocks and furniture that gleefully embrace the better-living-through-plastics sensibility of 50's design. He is represented here with one of his signature shag paintings -- where half the work is painted and half is woven shag rug -- a stunning marriage of showy pop, domestic craftsmanship, urban decor and high minimalism.
Aaron Parazette's wall-sized paintings similarly appropriate the slick finish of enamel paint to make giant abstractions that resemble the Pow's and Zing's of cartoon bubbles. His work has incorporated blown up wallpaper patterns and what looks like splatters from a paint gun. Like Isermann, Parazette finds a way to gracefully re-assemble components of comic book imagery, pop art and retro home decor into a delightfully invigorating update of abstract painting.
Marcelo Pombo, a 40 year old Argentinean residing in Buenos Aires, presents three dizzying, celebratory paintings whose astonishing complexity only gradually unfolds once one's initial exhilaration ebbs. The images are littered with skeins of liquid paint that skip across fields of color suggesting fantastic landscapes, cellular structures, exploding fireworks and geometric abstractions. A close examination reveals that nothing in Pombo's environment exists by accident, however. Each panel consists of thousands of tiny droplets of paint gently laid on top of each other to form target-like configurations of up to five colors.
Finally, New York based John Tremblay's explosion of ovals rounds out the show with an investigation of the results of painting within a simple, but rigorous set of rules. He creates pulsating conglomerations of a single shape -- the oval -- in colors that range from outrageously day-glo to astonishingly creamy- smooth white. Brimming with intellectual and visual energy, his forms punctuate ( and sometimes puncture ) the canvas in ways that reveal an elegance and zaniness that has memorably been described as "one of the Simpsons remembering a painting by Agnes Martin or Robert Mangold." - Kanishka Raja
Imported! remains on view until August 4th. Opening reception is on Friday, July 7th from 8 to 10 pm