NEW YORK, NY.- Allegra LaViola Gallery
presents Materiality, an exhibition of painting and sculpture by four artists: Joey Archuleta, Yevgeniya Baras, Thornton Dial and Matt Stone. Investigating the relationship between materials, process and product, the exhibition examines the formality and informality of the object.
The four artists in Materiality arrive at the same point by very different paths. Each is circling his chosen media before deciding on how and when to attack, though when the strike occurs it is with a precise violence.
Joey Archuletas assault on his works feels like we have weathered a war to get here. The surfaces of the paintings are convex, as if he has punched them in the guts during their making. In works like Caricultural Misdirection, a delicate layer of thin paper rests atop the board, fanning slightly at the edges. The central portion is scrubbed away and a thick layer of cracking paint oozes from the top, bleeding down the face. We find ourselves resting in the prettiest of rooms while desperately clawing to be let outside for air when the benevolence of a toothy smile turns to a snarl.
The sensation of ensnarement follows us to Yevgeniya Baras paintings. Though restricted in size to ladylike proportions, the paintings do not lack heft. They are literally torn apart, sewn back together, molded and battered into submission by the bulk of their surfaces. Despite this rough treatment, they thrive: glittering coyly or flashing a breadth of bright pink under a heavy impasto.
Thornton Dial straddles the space between the sculpture, painting, assemblage and installation. Unlike Baras and Archuleta, whose works bombard the surface, Dials heavily layered pieces seem to blossom outwards organically, unable to be contained. Textiles unfold and fold again, circling flowers or branches. Trees sprout forth and bodies appear ready to walk from out of the painting. The feeling that the works might multiply and invade while we sleep is palpable. While they are beautiful, they are also hideousa little too much for polite society. Dial does not stop and knock. He cuts down the door with one well-timed blow of an axe.
The repellent aspect of nature also occurs in Matt Stones sculptures. Like the beautiful outer layer of snails shell, which beneath contains the slimy beat of the animal, so too the repulsive invades in Stones sculptures, where childish colors fan and froth over barbed cardboard punctuated by bright pins. Screws share the space with plastic jewels and glue is lacquered over plywood. The simple components look benign and lighthearted, but malevolence lurks beneath. A dark slick spill of oil is drizzled over the pastels, and the colors take on the hue of a nuclear waste rainbow. Stone reminds us that children are often the cruelest of people.
Materiality explores the relationship of matter and mind and how we reconcile them. The line between the worlds is thinnest at moment of transcendence, when the barrier is broken and the two can exist in harmony, untethered to the actual elements that made them.
In the project space, Allegra LaViola Gallery presents Grid List, curated by Patrick Morrissey and Mark Sengbusch. Grid List presents 16 artists, 13 working in geometric abstraction, and three working quite gridless. Their conceptual fodder ranges from sports to math and science to film, graphic design and video.
The grid has existed for centuries: from cave walls to stone tablets to Papyrusfrom agriculture, architecture and weaving to the roadways and computers of today. We feel it directly as well, gravity still drops a vertical linerain, apples and basketballs all fall to meet the horizontal land. The right angle is alive and well today as it was at the earths formation.
The artist draws from the imbedded and inherent grid and Grid List explores the influence of the grid on artists. We trace back the source of Geometric Abstraction past Albers and LeWitt to a more personal and direct place.
The artists in Grid List come from varied but interwoven locations and backgrounds, four from London, one from Atlanta, one from Detroit and ten from New York City. Four of the artists have connections with Minus Space Gallery (Schifano, Francis, Ethier, Peterson) and four hold MFAs from Cranbrooks Painting Dept. (Mathews, Rex, Thomason, Sengbusch). Peterson, Mathews, and Sengbusch met in 1997 at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit where they studied under Joseph Bernard.
Thus the threads of the Grid List entwine. We hope to present a new take on Geometric Abstraction with a focus on the individual artists idiosyncratic relationship with the Grid.
In addition to the Artists in the show there will be "Non-Art" examples of the grid including a Kuba Cloth, a Nintendo (Tetris), Photos of the grid in Cave Art (Lascaux) and a real slice of a Meteorite. There are non- circuitous correlations between the grid in Nature, pre-history, technology and the artists mind.
This will be the second iteration of the Exhibition. The Center Galleries at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit presented Grid List in February 2012.