450 Harrison Ave. #43
Boston, MA 02118
Weds–Sun 12–5 pm
and by appointment
September 3-28, 2014
First Friday Opening Reception: Friday, September 5, 2014, 5:30-7:30 pm
Second Saturday Event: Saturday, September 13, 2014, 4:00-5:00 pm
"Abstraction and Contemporary Art" Curator William Kaizen in conversation with Peter Kalb, Brandeis University and Martha Buskirk, Monsterrat College of Art
South End Open Studios: Saturday & Sunday, September 20-21, 2014, 11:00 am-6:00 pm
Ground Cover: Contemporary Abstraction between Figure and Ground, curated by William Kaizen, Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Studies, Northeastern University
Dancing between thing and nothing, event and non-event, appearance and disappearance, the works in Ground Cover transmute ground into figure and figure into ground. These works operate at the limits of porosity, stressing the indeterminacy of figures and grounds. A fundamental problem for any visual artist is how to cover the ground on which she works. For painters concerned primarily with two-dimensional form, this problem ranges from issues related to stretching, priming and layering to the construction, or not, of illusory depth. For painters and sculptors concerned with three-dimensional form, this it extends to the relationship between the work and its environment, as the work's various parts obscure or reveal patches of space. Issues related to figure/ground only intensified with the advent of Abstraction, as the veil of naturalistic illusion fell away. No issue has been addressed more consistently in abstract art and it remains perennially of interest to artists.
For the artists in the exhibition, the idea of ground cover signals the risk of their work sliding into a banal, if not dissolute, state of nothingness that simply recapitulates the all-ground of the monochrome. By capturing a primeval "becoming" that touches on states of passing into and out of existence, ground cover also offers the possibility of capturing the oceanic pleasures and terrors of spaces between figure and ground. Translated into works of art, the problem of how to cover or reveal one's ground in order to capture this in-between state encompasses additional issues such as how to size wood and canvas, how to coat and drape, how to swathe, trowel or smother. It also includes subtractive processes like sanding, abrasion, gouging, and scraping. Whether they emphasize upward growth or downward erosion (or both simultaneously), the works in Ground Cover treat the limen between figure and ground as an existential surface whose crossing marks a porous border between one thing and another.
Linda Leslie Brown
Mary Bucci McCoy
Curator: William Kaizen is Assistant Professor of Art History and Visual Studies at Northeastern University. His current research focuses on art, populism and new media. His writing has appeared in Bomb, Art Papers, October, Grey Room, TextezurKunst, Artforum and elsewhere.
Mary Bucci McCoy
Acrylic on plywood
9 x 6 x 1 inches
(Complete 18-month exhibition calendar)