BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS.- The Boston University Art Gallery exhibition Resurfaced, curated by Joshua Buckno with Stephanie Inagaki, asks: what happens when painting departs from the modernist square canvas format and extends into the third dimension, the realm traditionally reserved for sculpture? Like Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly and other pioneering twentieth century artists, the seven artists included in Resurfaced -- Sam Cady, Sam Gilliam, Jennifer Riley, Gina Ruggeri, Katy Stone, Bill Thompson, and Roger Tibbetts --continue to blur the boundaries between painting and sculpture through their use of various materials and methods. By redefining the painting surface with the use of both flexible and rigid supports; employing unexpected materials, such as Mylar, resin, and epoxy; and developing new approaches to canvas structures, these artists create hybrid art objects located at the intersection of painting and sculpture. These works inhabit space in a manner unlike conventional square painting. Yet the presence of the painting surface remains a predominant characteristic so that the burden of defining the objects as either painting or sculpture is inevitable and unavoidable.
Although each artist in the exhibition employs distinctive methods, two characteristic ways of expanding the painting surface into the third dimension emerge in Resurfaced : one focused on materiality and one conceptual. The more material concern involves the manipulation of preconceived notions of painterly space in the service of both abstraction and realism. Sam Gilliam and Katy Stone create abstract works that literally project from the wall, moving beyond the confines of the flat painting surface, the hallmark of modern abstraction. Working in a different aesthetic mode, Sam Cady and Gina Ruggeri use the shaped edge of the painting surface to accentuate the imagery in their hyperrealistic still life paintings thus further problematizing the mimetic character of painting. In comparison, Jennifer Riley, Roger Tibbetts and Bill Thompson address conceptual concerns of painting. They employ new materials and methods as a means to explore issues of visual perception within the third dimension through experimentations in painting surface, color, and perspective.