Poured, pulled, rolled, slumped, sliced, dripped, swiped, squirted, pieced, and scraped paint in New Jersey

In the Newark Star Ledger Dan Bischoff reports that “Material Color” at the Hunterdon Art Museum brings together abstract art made out of color — not paint alone, but color that has become an almost three-dimensional object in itself. “Peter Fox’s ‘Royaume’ (2008) is a good example — a six-foot-square canvas covered with loops and whorls of acrylic pushed out from a plastic applicator like cake icing. James Lecce, of Hoboken, has poured acrylic polymer emulsion onto a canvas-covered panel with a sort of Rococo abandon (‘Chambord,’ 2008) that looks like molten candy. ‘When we were hanging the objects in this show I kept wanting to lick everything,’ says curator Mary Birmingham. And no wonder — so many of the artists here pour first and peel later (that is, they pour paints onto glass or plastic, let them dry, then peel them off and either reapply them to a surface or turn them into thin sculptures). Ivana Brenner, who flew up from Argentina to install her ‘Sin Titulo (Bosque)’ (2008), lets oil paint congeal into a solid on strips of plastic, peels them off, and then folds them into deep arrangements that look like patterns of rose or other flower petals. Think of it all as corporeal color.”

Although the Museum’s online press materials are skimpy, Joanne Mattera, whose work is included in the show, reports on her blog (with excellent images) that the 20 artists in the show all “work with mostly saturated color in a tangible, physical way. Nobody in this show just ‘paints.’ As you can see, pigment is poured, pulled, rolled, slumped, sliced, dripped, swiped, squirted, pieced and scraped.”

Material Color,” curated by Mary Birmingham. Hunterdon Art Museum, Clinton, NJ. Through Jan. 31. Artists include Cecilia Biagini, Alana Bograd, Ivana Brenner, Omar Chacon, Carlos Estrada-Vega, Peter Fox, Vincent Hamel, Gregg Hill, Wil Jansen, Vadim Katznelson, Lori Kirkbridge, Kathleen Kucka, James Lecce, Markus Linnenbrink, Joanne Mattera, Carolanna Parlato, Paul Russo, Robert Sagerman, Louise P. Sloane, and Leslie Wayne

Image at top courtesy of Joanne Mattera Art Blog.


  1. Sorry, but this talk of corporeal or material color just seems a nonsense.

    It has been established for some time actually, that color is a matter of light frequency before material or surface.

    Philosophically, it is often argued that versatility of light to an object renders color an unreliable ‘property’ of any object (the sky is still the sky whether red or blue or other… a tree is not always green… etc). To argue for a ‘material’ to color can therefore only be to establish color frequencies for perceptible differences in light.

    Whatever contortions artists wish to place upon PIGMENT and their varied solutions/platforms no more deal in color than chemistry – in matters of elasticity, brittleness, malleability or not, etc. Strictly, these are the concerns of sculpture.

    Artists are free to exchange painting for sculpture of course, but they shouldn’t be deluded that this will advance the understanding of color in the least, nor pictures.

  2. Sharon,
    Thanks for the mention of the show and of my blog report.

    The talk of material or corporeal may be “nonsense” to you, but the tangibility of the work is a fact.

    I can speak only for myself when I say that I am interested in materiality and process in my work. I’m not approaching the work scientifically–i.e. not trying to “advance the understanding of color”–but approaching abstraction in a materially physical, tangible way. It appears that my compatriots are doing the same. Certainly that was the theme of the show.

    This is a show about art, not science. And, if I may be permitted my bias, it’s a beautiful show.

  3. Color is never a three dimensional quality, however the point being made is that the intensity if the colors coupled with the materiality of the various surfaces used by the artists in the exhibition "seems" to
    unite "Material & Color" -presto! That's the essence of the show's theme and it worked very well. Congratulations Mary Birmingham and all of my fellow artists on a great show.- Paul Russo

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